Police Officer Fatally Shoots 20-Year-Old Daunte Wright During Traffic Stop Near Minneapolis

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Trace William Cowen
·3 min read
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Image via Getty/Stephen Maturen

A police officer in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota fatally shot a 20-year-old Black man during a traffic stop on Sunday.

Per a report from regional outlet KARE 11, family has identified the person killed as Daunte Wright. Just before 2 p.m. on Sunday, police are said to have made a traffic stop when they claim to have noticed Wright had an outstanding warrant.

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Wright’s mother, Katie, told local reporters that her son had called her to obtain insurance information when he was pulled over. Approximately a minute later, according to the mother, her son’s girlfriend—who was also in the vehicle—called her and said Wright had been shot and was “laying there lifeless.”

In a press release shared Sunday night, the Brooklyn Center Police Department claimed they initiated a stop for a traffic violation and then determined the driver of the vehicle had an outstanding warrant. Officers then claim to have tried taking the driver into custody when he “re-entered the vehicle.”

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At that point, according to police, one officer discharged their firearm and hit the driver. The car then traveled several blocks before hitting another vehicle. Wright is said to have died at the scene after life-saving measures were attempted.

Both body-worn cameras and dash cameras from police are believed to have been activated during the traffic stop and shooting. Moving forward, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension will conduct an independent investigation into the shooting.

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“I am closely monitoring the situation in Brooklyn Center,” Minnesota Governor Tim Walz said Sunday night. “Gwen and I are praying for Daunte Wright’s family as our state mourns another life of a Black man taken by law enforcement.”

In a statement shared to Complex on Monday, Mirella Ceja-Orozco and Elizer Darris—co-executive directors of the Minnesota Freedom Fund—said Wright’s death was a “tragic reminder” of the need for police reform:

“The killing of Daunte Wright — which happened just 10 miles away from where former police officer Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd — is a tragic reminder of the desperate need to reform our state’s racist law enforcement system. It was sadly unsurprising to then watch Brooklyn Center police use excessive force —including the firing of tear gas canisters — against a crowd that was peacefully assembled and exercising their first amendment to petition their government and protest ongoing police violence. The Minnesota Freedom Fund, which is closely monitoring the Chauvin trial, stands strongly against such excesses of authority and will be actively posting bail for those arrested.”

Complex has reached out to reps for the Brooklyn Center Police Department, as well as the Twin Cities-based organization Communities United Against Police Brutality, for comment. This post will be updated accordingly.

The fatal shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright has been met with protests. Brooklyn Center, notably, is roughly 15 minutes from Minneapolis, the city where George Floyd was killed during an arrest last year. The murder trial of now-former police officer Derek Chauvin, who held his knee to Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes, is currently in progress.