Tensions erupt near Minneapolis after police kill 20-year-old Daunte Wright
Brooklyn Center police officers pulled over Daunte Wright for an alleged traffic violation before one officer discharged his firearm
Just before the start of the third week of Derek Chauvin‘s murder trial in the death of George Floyd, residents of a city nearby Minneapolis are reeling after another police-involved death of a Black man.
Crowds of people gathered on Sunday at a Brooklyn Center intersection where family members said Daunte Wright, 20, was fatally shot by police in nearby Plymouth.
According to the Star Tribune, relatives of Daunte Wright, 20, told a growing crowd in Brooklyn Center that he was shot by police in Plymouth on Sunday afternoon, got back into his car and drove several blocks to Brooklyn Center, where he crashed the vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene.
EMS audio reportedly indicated that paramedics arrived at the scene at 1:48 p.m. local time and found one person dead. A female passenger was transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
The Tribune reported that law enforcement pulled over Wright’s vehicle for a traffic violation. His mother Katie Wright told reporters that Daunte was stopped because of air fresheners hanging in his car, which is an offense in Minnesota. Officers reportedly tried to take Wright into custody, apparently over an outstanding warrant. However, Wright got back into his vehicle and, moments later, an officer discharged his weapon and shot Wright.
The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has now launched an independent investigation of the incident. By Sunday evening, hundreds of people gathered near the scene in protest of police. Some protesters reportedly clashed with officers in riot gear and damaged two squad cars as police fired “non-lethal rounds” at the crowd. Photos shared online indicated that police shot rubber bullets at protesters.
Wright’s mother tearfully pleaded for police to give her more information about what happened to her son and for his body to be moved from the street.
According to MPR News, Katie Wright said she had just bought him a car and that he was on his way to a car wash at the time of the shooting.
Protesters chanted “Say his name: Daunte Wright!” as a line of police stretched down the street near the intersection where Wright crashed.
Police alleged that “officers determined that the driver of the vehicle had an outstanding warrant. At one point as officers were attempting to take the driver into custody, the driver re-entered the vehicle. One officer discharged their firearm, striking the driver. The vehicle traveled several blocks before striking another vehicle.”
The Brooklyn Center Police Department confirmed that officers wear body cameras and believe body and dash cameras were turned on during Wright’s encounter with police and the subsequent shooting.
Wright’s family released a statement to ABC News, describing him as a young father who “had a whole life ahead of him.”
“We just want people to know Daunte was a good kid. He loved being a father to Daunte Jr,” reads the family statement.
“Daunte had a smile to make anyone’s heart melt. He was definitely a jokester, he loved to joke with people, especially his brothers and sisters. He did not deserve this.”
Wright’s death comes as the nation closely watches the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who has been charged with the murder of George Floyd. On May 25, 2020, police were called to Cup Foods grocery store over an alleged attempt to use a counterfeit $20 bill. Police approached Floyd in his vehicle and placed him in handcuffs.
During the police encounter, Floyd was restrained on the ground as Chauvin placed his knee on Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds. Despite pleas that he couldn’t breathe, Chauvin failed to remove his knee from Floyd’s neck as he slowly lost the breath from his body. He was later pronounced dead. His death was ruled a homicide by asphyxia or low oxygen.
Have you subscribed to theGrio’s “Dear Culture” podcast? Download our newest episodes now!
TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Roku. Download theGrio.com today!