Just before 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon in Minneapolis, officers pulled over a driver for a traffic violation and determined that the driver had an outstanding warrant, the Brooklyn Center Police Department said in a statement. Officers tried to arrest the driver however he refused to listen to commands. Instead he re-entered the vehicle and drove away.
“One officer discharged their firearm, striking the driver,” the statement said. “The vehicle then traveled several blocks before striking another vehicle.”
The driver, who would later be identified as 20 year old Daunte Wright, died at the scene of the crash in a residential neighborhood, the police said. The officers believed body-worn cameras and dashboard cameras “were activated” during the episode.
Officers and medical personnel performed lifesaving measures but the driver was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. A female passenger, Daunte Wright’s girlfriend, was taken to the hospital with injuries that weren’t life-threatening.
The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension was on the scene and will be conducting an independent investigation into the incident.
A woman who came to the scene of the crash said she was the victim’s mother. She identified her son as Daunte Wright, 20, and said he had called her when the police pulled him over.
Mr. Wright was in a vehicle his family had just given him two weeks ago, and was driving with his girlfriend, said his mother.
“He called me at about 1:40, said he was getting pulled over by the police,” the woman told reporters at the scene, according to a Facebook Live video. “He said they pulled him over because he had air fresheners hanging from his rearview mirror.”
Mr. Wright also allegedly told his mother that the police had questions about the vehicle insurance, she stated.
“I said when the police officer comes back to the window, put him on the phone and I will give him the insurance information,” she said. “Then I heard the police officer come to the window and say, ‘Put the phone down and get out of the car.’ And Daunte said why. He said, ‘We’ll explain to you when you get out of the car.’”
The woman said she heard her son either drop the phone or put the phone on the dashboard. “I heard scuffling and I heard the police officer say, ‘Daunte, don’t run’ and then the officer said, ‘Put the phone down’ and hung it up”, she stated.
A woman who lives near the crash scene, Carolyn Hanson, said she saw officers pull a man out of a car and perform CPR, while a passenger who got out of the vehicle was covered in blood.
Within hours of the shooting, a couple hundred people had gathered near the scene, where emotions were running high.
Protesters pushed past police tape and confronted officers donning riot gear. Around 7:15 p.m., the crowd broke the windshields of two squad cars and police fired non-lethal rounds to try to disperse the crowd.
Protesters later walked to the Brooklyn Center police headquarters near N. 67th Avenue and N. Humboldt Avenue and were locked in a standoff with police in riot gear late Sunday night. Officers repeatedly ordered the crowd of about 500 to disperse as protesters chanted Wright’s name and climbed atop the police headquarters sign, by then covered in graffiti. Police used tear gas, flash bangs and rubber bullets on the crowd.
National Guard troops arrived just before midnight as rioters and looters targeted the Brooklyn Center Walmart and nearby shopping mall.
Several businesses around the Brooklyn Center Walmart are completely destroyed. Police rolled up and made some arrests as young men ran from buildings carrying stolen goods. Foot Locker, T Mobile, and a New York men’s clothing store all completely destroyed.
Andre Stevenson, of Minneapolis, is the longtime manager of the clothing store. He arrived to find the store in complete ruins. The only item of clothing left appeared to be one pair of jeans on a mannequin.
“I understand why people are frustrated, I do,” said store manager Andre Stevenson, who is Black. “But this isn’t going to solve anything, ultimately.”
Looting was widespread late Sunday into early Monday, spilling into north and south Minneapolis. Reports said that stores in Uptown and along Lake Street were also being looted.
Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott said he was issuing a curfew order. Precautions were being taken into Monday, with Brooklyn Center canceling or closing all school buildings, programs and activities.
Metro Transit announced on Twitter Sunday that it was shutting down public transit in Brooklyn Center at the request of law enforcement.
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