Protests flare and National Guard deployed after 20-year-old Black man shot in traffic stop near Minneapolis

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Cheryl Teh,Tom Porter,Yelena Dzhanova
·6 min read
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police
Police officers in Washington, DC, on October 27. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
  • Protesters clashed with the police near Minneapolis after an officer fatally shot a Black man.

  • The family of Daunte Wright, 20, said he was pulled over on Sunday for displaying an air freshener.

  • Protests flared in Brooklyn Center hours after the shooting, with riot police out in force.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Hundreds of protesters clashed with the police near Minneapolis after the fatal shooting of a 20-year-old Black man during a traffic stop on Sunday afternoon.

An officer shot Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, a Minneapolis suburb, at about 2 p.m. after pulling him over for a traffic violation. The police have not confirmed his identity, but Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott and Wright's family have said Wright was the man who was shot.

On Monday, the city's police chief said the shooting was the result of an "accidental discharge," the city's police chief said. The still-unnamed officer who shot Wright meant to grab their taser but grabbed their gun instead and fatally shot him, the police chief said.

The officer has since been placed on administrative leave.

Tensions flared in the city after Wright's death.

In response to the protests, officials deployed the National Guard and imposed a curfew. A local official said that about 20 businesses had been broken into during the unrest. The Minneapolis Star Tribune said some had been destroyed.

"You will see a robust assortment of National Guard, state and local police departments working together over the next two or three days as we once again prepare for the trial, and also are prepared for any further civil unrest that may come from the Brooklyn Center officer-involved shooting," said John Harrington, the commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

All Brooklyn Center schools closed and mandated remote learning on Monday, Superintendent Carly Baker said in a statement.

"We are focused on taking steps in the moment. I haven't entirely processed the tragedy that took place in our community and I'm prioritizing the safety and wellbeing of our students, families, staff members and community members," Baker said, adding, "We know our community experienced trauma and we need the time and space to process."

Brooklyn Center is about a half-hour drive from the courthouse where the former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is on trial, charged with murder in the death of George Floyd. Floyd's death in May was a driving force behind the Black Lives Matter protests that swept the nation.

Wright's mother, Katie Wright, said her son had been pulled over for displaying an air freshener on his rearview mirror.

In a video posted on Twitter, she pleaded for people to come forward with more information and for the authorities to move her son's body off the street.

"All he did was have air fresheners in the car, and they told him to get out of the car. He got out of the car, and his girlfriend said they shot him," Katie Wright said.

"Now he's dead on the ground since 1:47," she said. "Nobody will tell us anything. Nobody will talk to us ... I asked them to please take my son off the ground."

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In a video posted on Sunday night, Elliott paid tribute to Wright and urged calm.

"Our entire community is filled with grief following today's officer-involved shooting of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old young man. And our hearts are with his family and with all those in our community who are impacted by this tragedy," he said.

He said that while officials waited for information from Minnesota's Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, "we will continue to support the peaceful gathering of members of our community who are gathering to hold space amid our calls for transparency and accountability."

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The police have not specified why officers pulled Wright over. Some have pointed to a rarely enforced traffic law that makes it illegal to hang anything from a rearview mirror - from an air freshener to a keychain - that may obstruct vision.

Daunte's father, Aubrey Wright, 42, told The Washington Post that his son had been heading to the car wash in his new car. He said he got a call from his wife that his son had been shot.

"She was screaming over the phone," he said. "She was saying, 'Daunte was shot!'"

A witness, Carolyn Hanson, told the Star Tribune that she had seen police officers drag a man out of the car to perform CPR on him. She said she saw another passenger who was covered in blood get out of the car.

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The Star Tribune reported that crowds gathered near Brooklyn Center in the afternoon, with officers in riot gear pushing back against protesters.

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About 500 people headed to the police headquarters at 9:30 p.m., pushing past police tape and clashing with the officers in riot gear, the report said.

The windshields of two squad cars were smashed, and officers fired tear gas and nonlethal rounds to disperse the crowd, the Star Tribune reported.

At about 11:30 p.m., the police declared the gathering an unlawful assembly and said that anyone who remained in the area, including journalists, would be arrested, Minnesota Public Radio reported. National Guard troops arrived at about midnight, the Star Tribune said.

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Elliott imposed a curfew from 1 to 6 a.m. He said officials would provide an update at 11 a.m.

The protests spilled over into other cities, with small groups marching in downtown Portland, Oregon.

The Brooklyn Center Police Department said in a statement only that a driver with an "outstanding warrant" had been stopped for a traffic violation.

The statement said the driver was outside the car but got back in, then an officer shot him.

"The vehicle traveled several blocks before striking another vehicle," the statement said. "Officers in pursuit and responding medical personnel attempted life saving measures, but the person died at the scene." It added that a female passenger was brought to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The police department said that officers' body and dash cameras were switched on and that an independent investigation had been opened.

Gov. Tim Walz said on Twitter on Sunday night that he was "closely monitoring the situation in Brooklyn Center."

"Gwen and I are praying for Daunte Wright's family as our state mourns another life of a Black man taken by law enforcement," Walz tweeted.

Read the original article on Insider