Man Fatally Shot By Police Near Minneapolis During Traffic Stop, Sparking Protests

Police fatally shot a Black man during a traffic stop just outside Minneapolis on Sunday, inflaming tensions in the region again while a former police officer is on trial in the Twin Cities for murder in the death of George Floyd in May last year.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported Sunday that Daunte Wright, 20, was shot and killed in the city of Brooklyn Center, about 10 miles from Minneapolis.

The Brooklyn Center Police Department said it pulled a vehicle over shortly before 2 p.m. local time for a traffic violation. Officers discovered the driver had a warrant for his arrest, and when they tried to take the man into custody he attempted to get back into his car. An officer fired a weapon, striking the man, who then drove his car several blocks before it crashed into another vehicle.

The driver died at the scene despite life-saving measures performed by officers and medical personnel. The police said the officers on scene were wearing body cameras and the department believed they were turned on, including those mounted on the dashboards of their squad car.

Reports of the shooting sparked large protests throughout the night and a group of about 500 people eventually walked to the headquarters of the Brooklyn Center police, where they were met by officers in riot gear. Authorities called on the crowd to disperse, firing crowd control devices into the protestors. National Guard troops were called to the scene just before midnight amid reports of looting.

Minneapolis Public Radio reported the munitions included tear gas and flash bang grenades.

Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott said later Monday night he would issue a curfew order.

A woman who identified herself as Wright’s mother spoke at the scene shortly after the shooting, saying she wanted “justice for Dante.” She urged protesters to remain peaceful.

“We don’t want it to be about all this violence,” the woman, Katie Wright, told The Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “All he did was have air fresheners in the car and they told him to get out of the car.”

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) said he was “closely monitoring the situation.” 

“Gwen and I are praying for Daunte Wright’s family as our state mourns another life of a Black man taken by law enforcement,” Walz said on Twitter. 

The shooting comes amid the ongoing trial of Chauvin, the former police officer accused of murder for kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes during an arrest last year. Floyd’s death, captured on video and circulated on social media, sparked renewed protests calling for an end to police brutality and systemic racism.

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