Unrest unfolds after Brooklyn Center police kill Black man

By J.D. Duggan, Freelance Community Journalist

Daunte Wright, 20, was shot by a Brooklyn Center police officer following a traffic stop. Protesters and mourners later mobilized outside of the police department, where they were met by resistance from officers.

After Brooklyn Center Police Department killed Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, Sunday afternoon, community members gathered in remembrance and to call out police violence.

The situation unfolded into a standoff between police forces in riot gear and a growing crowd of protesters. As community members gathered near the place where Wright died, militarized police showed up. 

A large swath of people eventually moved to the Brooklyn Center Police Department where police lined in front of the building. As the crowd grew and emotions intensified, police ordered a dispersal for unlawful assembly. 

Some protesters threw objects into the line of armored police. Tear gas and smoke were then unleashed onto the crowd and the apartment complex across from the police department. Multiple community members reported on social media that children were evacuated as chemical munitions continued to blanket the street and apartments.

At one point a protester yelled, “Do you feel de-escalated yet?” to the crowd. Emotions were especially tense as the murder trial of former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin is ongoing.

Star Tribune reporter Kim Hyatt spoke with Wright’s mom, who tearfully said her son had been laying in the street for hours while an investigation of the officer’s use-of-force was underway. 

As seen in bodycam footage, Wright was taken out of the car and officers began to attempt to handcuff him. Police reported it was a traffic stop, and they then realized that Wright had a warrant for his arrest. He briefly struggled with officers and got back into the car. An officer shouted “Taser, taser, taser,” before shooting her gun into his vehicle. She then says, “Oh shit, I shot him,” as Wright drives away. He died shortly after.

The police chief claimed that the officer meant to use her stun gun, not to shoot Wright. He called it an “accidental discharge” during a press conference Monday.

Police presence mounted Sunday night as various agencies entered the fray, including the Minnesota State Patrol and Minnesota National Guard. As the crowd was dispersed, unrest unraveled into other parts of Brooklyn Center and Minneapolis.

During a Monday press conference, Gov. Tim Walz said: “Those who chose to go out and exploit these tragedies for destruction or personal gain, you can rest assured the largest police presence in Minnesota history and coordination will be prepared. You will be arrested, you will be charged and there will be consequences for those actions.”

A curfew was put in place for 7 p.m. Monday night in multiple Twin Cities areas. Walz said Monday saw the largest mobilization of law enforcement in Minnesota history.

A vigil for Wright was also scheduled for that evening. Wright’s family has put together a GoFundMe page for funeral expenses

“Please donate to give Daunte the proper burial he deserves and to help his son and sons mother Chyna,” his aunt wrote on the fundraiser. “if you can’t help please send lots of prayers for our family to get through this tragic loss thank you and God bless.”

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