Daunte Wright: Who was the 20-year-old Black man shot dead by police in Minneapolis suburb?

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Mayank Aggarwal
·4 min read
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<p>Family and friends of Daunte Wright, 20, grieve after they say he was shot and killed by police on 11 April 2021 in Brooklyn Center</p> (AP)

Family and friends of Daunte Wright, 20, grieve after they say he was shot and killed by police on 11 April 2021 in Brooklyn Center

(AP)

The death of a 20-year-old Black man, Daunte Wright, in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota on Sunday has sparked protests against the police even as tensions were already running high due to the murder trial of a police officer over George Floyd’s death last year.

Mr Floyd’s death in May 2020 sparked waves of protests across the US and had a profound impact on the Black Lives Matter movement globally – but nowhere has it affected communities more than in Minneapolis.

On Sunday, protests again returned to the city after Mr Wright was shot dead by police in Brooklyn Center, a northwestern suburb with a population of about 30,000.

Police on Monday said that Mr Wright was shot by an “accidental discharge” of a “very senior” officer’s firearm as she mistakenly drew her gun instead of a taser.

Brooklyn Center police chief Tim Gannon released body cam video footage of the killing as the “community needed to know what happened, they needed to see it, we needed to be transparent.”

Officials have not named the female officer involved but have said that she is on administrative leave while the investigation is carried out.

Brooklyn Center’s mayor, Mike Elliott, has called for the officer to be fired but the police chief says she will receive “due process” and be given a chance to make her statements on the incident.

Mr Wright was pulled over for having expired tags on his car, and the shooting occurred as he struggled with officers as they tried to handcuff him outside of the vehicle.

The body cam video showed Mr Wright got back into his car after the single shot was fired by the officer and driving away from the scene.

Katie Wright, the young man’s mother, said he had called her as he was being pulled over and that she heard scuffling before the call ended. When she called back, she said, Mr Wright’s girlfriend told her that Daunte had been shot by police.

The 20-year-old is survived by his son, who is aged less than two, Daunte Wright Jr. Some social media photographs and videos showed his brother Damik Wright holding Daunte Jr up in the air near the scene of the shooting on Sunday.

During a YouTube livestream of the protest on Sunday, Mr Wright’s sister could be heard saying of Daunte: “He was so goofy. He just makes everybody happy.

“They took my brother away from me. … I’m so hurt, they really just took him. … I still can’t believe it. I’m still feeling like I’m going to go home and see him. It really hurts.”

In a statement, Brooklyn Center police said that officers had stopped Mr Wright shortly before 2pm Sunday and, after determining the driver had an outstanding warrant, they tried to arrest him.

The statement said the driver re-entered the vehicle and drove away, at which point an officer fired at the vehicle, striking the driver.

He drove for several blocks before crashing into another vehicle, police said.

A resident who lives near the crash scene described how police officers pulled the man out of the car and performed CPR while another passenger who got out of the car was covered in blood.

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Lt Governor of Minnesota Peggy Flanagan tweeted: “I’m angry and heartbroken at how unrelenting this trauma is for our community. My heart is with Daunte Wright’s family, but especially his mother who spoke to her son for the last time today. It’s too much. The trauma of yet another Black man dying at the hands of law enforcement weighs heavy on our state.”

During Sunday’s protests, some waved “Black Lives Matter” signs and stood peacefully, while a handful jumped on police cars and confronted officers.

Police have said Brooklyn Center officers use body-worn cameras as standard and the department said it has asked the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to investigate the case.

Additional reporting by agencies

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