Protests have erupted against police in Minneapolis after an officer fatally shot a young Black man after stopping his vehicle for a traffic violation on Sunday about 10 miles (16 km) from where George Floyd was killed during an arrest last May.
Brooklyn Center police in a statement said officers stopped an individual shortly before 2 p.m. Sunday. After determining the driver had an outstanding warrant, police tried to arrest the driver.
The driver reentered the vehicle and drove away. An officer then fired at the vehicle, striking the driver. Police said the vehicle traveled several blocks before striking another vehicle.
Following this, hundreds of protestors gathered around Brooklyn Center Police Department Headquarters on Sunday night as police officers in riot gear retaliated by firing rubber bullets and flashbangs, NBC News reports.
According to the New York Times, The gathering had largely been peaceful up until 9.30 pm local time when the police made an announcement declaring the gathering was unlawful and gave the crowd 10 minutes to disperse.
However, officers in riot gear later attacked the protesters with rubber bullets and let off clouds of chemical irritants.
The man killed by police was identified by his relatives and Minnesota Governor Tim Walz as 20-year-old Daunte Wright.
Near the site of the shooting, protesters yelled angrily at a line of police in riot gear holding long batons in front of them. Some protesters vandalized two police vehicles, pelting them with stones and jumping on them. Police fired rubber bullets, hitting at least two in the crowd, with at least one man left bleeding from the head, a Reuters witness said, before crowds marched to the police department building.
Speaking on the incident, Governor Walz via his Twitter page said;
I am 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,”
I am 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.
— Governor Tim Walz (@GovTimWalz) April 12, 2021
Wright’s mother, Katie Wright, told reporters at the scene that she received a call from her son on Sunday afternoon telling her that police had pulled him over for having air fresheners dangling from his rear-view mirror, illegal in Minnesota. She could hear police tell her son to get out the vehicle, she said.
“I heard scuffling, and I heard police officers say, ‘Daunte, don’t run,’” she said through tears. The call ended, and she dialed his number again, and his girlfriend answered and said he was now dead in the driver’s seat.
The shooting is being investigated by the state’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension while American Civil Liberties Union’s Minnesota branch has called for an independent investigation into the incident and demanded the immediate release of police body cam footage from the shooting.
Police have said body cameras worn by the officers were recording during the incident.
Meanwhile, anti-police protesters have already spent recent days rallying in Minneapolis as the trial of Derek Chauvin, a white former city policeman, enters the third week in a courthouse ringed with barriers and soldiers from National Guard.
Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer is being charged with murder in the death of George Floyd.
Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, died in Minneapolis in May last year after Chauvin kneeled on his neck during his arrest. Videos of Floyd’s death—which were widely shared and broadcast—sparked global protests against police brutality and systemic racism.