Law enforcement in Brooklyn Centre, Minnesota clashed with protesters after an officer fatally shot a man during a traffic stop.
The incident took place at approximately 2:00 p.m. on Sunday in the 6300 block of Orchard Avenue, where officers pulled over a vehicle for a traffic violation and attempted to take the suspect into custody, according to a statement issued by Brooklyn Center police.
The victim has been identified as Daunte Wright by relatives who were close to the scene. His death prompted a relative, Naisha Wright, to call for a riot on Facebook. “They JUST KILLED MY NEPHEW!!!!! MINNEAPOLIS CAN BURN THE FU*K DOWN,” she wrote.
Protesters gathered outside the city’s police station later in the evening to protest the shooting, and were met by officers in riot gear. Officers dispersed the crowd using tear gas and less-lethal projectiles.
Looting and vandalism were reported throughout the city, with the Shingle Creek Crossing shopping centre one alleged target.
The unrest came during an already tense time as the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin enters its third week. Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder in the death of George Floyd, whose death in police custody in May 2020 sparked months of protests and riots across the United States.
Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott called the shooting of Wright tragic, but called on protestors to remain peaceful and for law enforcement to avoid using force on the demonstrators.
Brooklyn Center Community Schools released a notice on its website stating that all district buildings will be closed on Monday and instruction for students will be provided via remote learning.
“This decision is being made out of an abundance of caution following the officer-involved shooting that took place in Brooklyn Center earlier today and not knowing what will unfold overnight in our community,” the statement read.
Brooklyn Center Police say that following the traffic stop, officers learned that Wright had an outstanding warrant and attempted to take him into custody. The police stated that when they attempted to arrest Wright, he re-entered the vehicle. An officer shot the driver, who drove on for several blocks before crashing into another vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
A female passenger who was also in the vehicle suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
Police have stated that the officers involved in the incident were wearing body cameras and the dashcam had also been activated.
Wright's mother said that her son had called her during the traffic stop to request car insurance details, stating that she heard shuffling before 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 said her son's body had been left on the ground by officers, adding: "Nobody will tell us anything. Nobody will talk to us... I said please take my son off the ground," the Star Tribune reported.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said that he was “closely monitoring the situation” in response to the rioting and added that his wife Gwen and he “are praying for Daunte Wright’s family as our state mourns another life of a Black man taken by law enforcement.”