On Sunday, a police officer in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota fatally shot Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man during a traffic stop. The shooting happened ten miles from where Derek Chauvin is on trial in the killing of George Floyd.
According to the Chief Tim Gannon of Brooklyn Center Police Department, the officer intended to tase Mr. Wright, but shot him instead. Medical workers pronounced Mr. Wright dead at the scene. On Monday, The medical examiner from Hennepin County reported that Mr. Wright “died of a gunshot wound of the chest and manner of death is homicide.”
Kate Wright, Mr. Wright’s mother, said that he called her as he was being pulled over. “He said they pulled him over because he had air fresheners hanging from his rearview mirror,” she said.
Ms. Wright also said that her son’s girlfriend was in the car with him when he was shot. The police said a woman in the car faced injuries from the crash that were not life-threatening.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey declared a state of emergency on Monday and mandated a curfew from 7pm Monday to 6am Tuesday. On Monday evening, demonstrators gathered in Brooklyn Center, outside a police station. The police declared the demonstration unlawful and attempted to break up the crowd using flash-bang grenades and tear gas. About 40 people were arrested in Brooklyn Center for violating curfew and rioting.
One protester said, “a young Black man just starting his life– that you will never understand… just starting his life, with a two year old. Getting murdered, for what? He should be here today.”
The ACLU of Minnesota in their statement said in part, “The ACLU-MN has deep concerns that police here appear to have used dangling air fresheners as an excuse for making a pretextual stop, something police do all too often to target Black people. While we are waiting to learn more, we must reiterate that police violence and killings of people of color must end, as must the over-policing and racial profiling that are endemic to our white supremacist system of policing.”
Sources: New York Times 4/13/21; Washington Post 4/13/21; ACLU Minnesota 4/11/21