Looting and violence explode in Minneapolis – National Guard activated after police shooting of criminal

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BROOKLYN CENTER, MN – Minneapolis exploded in violence again last night after the police shooting of a black man during a traffic stop. Rioting and looting spread throughout the city, and the Minnesota National Guard has been called in to help quell the violence.

The violence erupted after an officer shot and killed 20-year-old Daunte Wright during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center on the border of Minneapolis. Brooklyn Center police said in a news release that an officer stopped Wright for a traffic violation shortly before 2 p.m.

During the stop, officers determined Wright had an outstanding arrest warrant and attempted to take him into custody. When Wright fled and re-entered his vehicle, one officer fired a shot, striking the man.

Wright continued to drive for several blocks before his vehicle crashed into another vehicle. Officers and medical personnel attempted “life-saving measures,” but Wright died at the scene, according to the statement.

Police said a female passenger, later identified as his girlfriend, in Wright’s vehicle sustained non-life-threatening injuries and was transported to a local hospital. Occupants in the other vehicle were uninjured.

Police said officers were wearing body cameras and the department does utilize dash cameras, both of which were activated during the incident.

Brooklyn Center Police Department has requested the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) to conduct an independent investigation of the incident.

The independent investigation was not enough for demonstrators who gathered in Brooklyn Center shortly after the shooting. Wright’s family and friends joined the demonstrators as they marched in the streets and carried signs and flags reading Black Lives Matter.

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About 100 protesters gathered near the scene of the shooting and pushed through police tape, confronting police dressed in riot gear. The demonstrations turned violent as two police cars were targeted by the crowd. Windshields were smashed on the police cars as the confrontation grew.

Police fired non-lethal rounds in an attempt to disperse the crowd.

Protesters later walked to the police headquarters where about 500 protesters ignored police orders to disperse. Protesters began chanting Wright’s name, and some climbed a police headquarters sign. Police used tear gas, flash bangs, and rubber bullets attempting to dispel the riotous crowd.

Police said one shot was fired at the front door of the police headquarters shattering a glass door, but that no one was injured.

The demonstrations devolved into rioting throughout the night, and the Minnesota National Guard arrived just before midnight.

Looters targeted the Brooklyn Center Walmart and a nearby shopping mall, as rioters completely destroyed several businesses including Foot Locker, T Mobile, and a New York men’s clothing store.

The violence and rioting spread into Minneapolis with reports that stores Uptown and along Lake Street were also being looted.

Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliot issued a curfew order until 6 a.m., and all schools were closed for Monday.

Elliot issued a statement at 2 a.m.:

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

“We await additional information from the BCA [Bureau of Criminal Apprehension] who is leading the investigation, we continue to ask that members of our community gathering do so peacefully, amid our calls for transparency and accountability.”

Katie Wright, the mother of Daunte Wright, told reporters her son was driving a car the family gave him just two weeks earlier and that he called her when he was pulled over:

“He called me at about 1:40, said he was getting pulled over by the police. He said they pulled him over because he had air fresheners hanging from his rearview mirror.”

According to a report in The New York Times, Ms. Wright said that she urged her son to give his phone to a police officer so she could give him the insurance information on the vehicle:

“The I heard the police officer come to the window and say, ‘Put the phone down and get out of the car.’”

Ms. Wright said her son dropped the phone or put it down, and then she heard “scuffling” and an officer telling her son not to run. The phone hung up, and when she called, her son’s girlfriend answered and said he had been shot:

“A minute later, I called and his girlfriend answered, which was the passenger in the car, and said that he’d been shot and she put it on the driver’s side, and he was lying there lifeless.”

John Harrington, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety said that the violence at the mall in Brooklyn Center affected about 20 businesses. He added that once the National Guard and Minnesota State Patrol arrived to back up of police with riot gear and batons, the protesters fled the area of the police headquarters.

Minnesota Democratic Gov. Tim Walz issued a statement on Twitter:

“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.”

The shooting and violence come to a city already on edge as the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin entered its third week of testimony. Chauvin is charged in the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, about 10 miles from Wright’s shooting. Testimony in the trial was scheduled to resume Monday morning.

Many businesses in Minneapolis have kept their windows boarded up since the killing of Floyd on May 25. Weeks of violence followed, with dozens of businesses burned and looted. Brooklyn Park City Council member Wynfred Russell said black residents have been on edge:

“You do have a lot of raw nerves here.”

Operation Safety Net, an organization formed to help with any potential unrest throughout the Chauvin trial, held a press briefing this morning. During the briefing, Commissioner Harrington said numerous law enforcement agencies were called in to assist as hundreds of protesters gathered outside the police headquarters last night.

Minnesota State Police Patrol Colonel Matt Langer said there would be an additional law enforcement presence, including the National Guard, in the area Monday to assist with any civil unrest.

 

 

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