Daunte Wright shooting: Minneapolis area black man fatally shot by Brooklyn Center police after air freshener traffic stop. Protesters converge demanding justice.
America in revolt? Tear gas has been fired and a curfew imposed amid angry protests after police this weekend, fatally shot an ‘unarmed’ black man in a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, just north of Minneapolis and ten miles away where black man, George Floyd died of a police choke hold last year.
The deceased man was identified by relatives as 20-year-old, Daunte Wright.
According to ABC News, Wright was shot after getting back into his car and trying to drive away from the scene. Daunte would later crash his car into another vehicle a few blocks away, and be pronounced died shortly after.
News of the young man’s death Sunday afternoon led to up to 100 to 200 protesters converging in front of the steps of the Brooklyn Center Police Department, ‘demanding justice,’ for the death that many deemed wasn’t necessary. Police and protesters clashed, with reports of looting, police cars being smashed and the firing of tear gas at protesters, Reuters reported.
Brooklyn Center’s mayor issued a city-wide curfew until 06:00 telling people to ‘be safe, go home’.
— skye (@LOVE4HYUN1E) April 12, 2021
Killed over air-freshener?
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz in a statement said that he was monitoring the unrest in Brooklyn Center, a suburb of Minneapolis, as ‘our state mourns another life of a Black man taken by law enforcement.’
Reports cited the victims mother, Katie Wright, a white woman, saying, her son was pulled him over for air fresheners hanging in the mirror. Air fresheners are typically used to disguise the smell of illegal substances.
The weekend episode comes amid escalated tensions in Minneapolis as the trial of the former officer, Derek Chauvin, accused of killing George Floyd takes place.
Some of the Minnesota National Guard, already deployed for the murder trial of Derek Chauvin over the death of George Floyd, were sent to Brooklyn Center.
Brooklyn Center has closed all school buildings, programs and activities for Monday, local media report.
In a statement, the Brooklyn Center Police Department said officers had pulled a man over for a traffic violation on Sunday afternoon and determined that he had an outstanding arrest warrant.
They said that when police tried to arrest him, he re-entered the vehicle.
‘Nobody will tell us anything. Nobody will talk to us’
An officer then shot the driver, who drove on for several blocks before he crashed into another vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
A female passenger in the vehicle suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
Police said body cameras were being worn by the officers involved, and dash cameras had also been activated.
Wright’s mother said her son had called her during the traffic stop for car insurance details. She said she then heard scuffling and the phone was cut.
‘A minute later, I called and his girlfriend answered, who was the passenger in the car, and said that he’d been shot… and my son was laying there lifeless.’
She told the StarTribune her son’s body had been left on the ground by officers, saying: ‘Nobody will tell us anything. Nobody will talk to us… I said please take my son off the ground.’
In the Brooklyn Center neighborhood of Minneapolis, police have killed 20 year old #DaunteWright. Angry neighbors have descended in the scene, smashing a police cruiser as armored officers stand nearby. pic.twitter.com/S05Kl9aVuV
— Vitalist International (@VitalistInt) April 12, 2021
Using dangling air fresheners as an excuse for making a pre-textual stop targeting blacks?
The state’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said it was investigating the shooting.
The Minnesota branch of the American Civil Liberties Union said another independent agency should investigate, and demanded the immediate release of any videos of the shooting. The group said it had ‘deep concerns that police here appear to have used dangling air fresheners as an excuse for making a pre-textual stop, something police do all too often to target Black people.’
Sunday’s events come amid the highly charged murder trial of Derek Chauvin over the death of George Floyd has been under way in the city for two weeks now.
Mr Chauvin was filmed kneeling on Mr Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes during an arrest in Minneapolis last May.
The footage of the incident sparked global protests against racism.
The trial is expected to last at least one month and law enforcement officials have already been bracing for possible unrest once the jury reaches a verdict.