The Twin Cities area of Minnesota continued to be the scene of massive protests for the second consecutive night on Monday after the fatal police shooting of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old black man.
Despite a 7 p.m. curfew set in place in the county by Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, hundreds of people who had gathered throughout the day outside the Brooklyn Center, Minnesota police precinct for a vigil for Wright decided to stay beyond that time.
Around 300 people had attended the peaceful vigil for Wright at the site of the traffic stop where the shooting took place.
At the start of the candlelight vigil, a man played a trumpet, while Daunte Wright's mother cried softly behind him, standing at the intersection where her son died the day before. pic.twitter.com/BazWzRxoPQ— Jared Goyette (@JaredGoyette) April 12, 2021
Earlier, police had erected a chain link fence and concrete barriers around the precinct, with local law enforcement joined by Minnesota National Guard and Minnesota State Patrol officers to surround the building, according to Star Tribune.
The city of Brooklyn Center (near Minneapolis) is putting up concrete barricades at the police station following mass #BLM rioting and looting overnight over the shooting death of wanted criminal suspect #DaunteWright pic.twitter.com/xePrRIZFpG— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) April 12, 2021
Gathered crowds chanted “Daunte Wright!” and “You can’t stop the revolution!” and reportedly hurled obscenities at the police.
Current scene at the Brooklyn Center police station. 25 minutes past curfew. pic.twitter.com/fETag3hhLR— Carlos Gonzalez (@CarlosGphoto) April 13, 2021
Law enforcement attempted to disperse the crowd with warnings that curfew violations were misdemeanour charges even for peaceful protesters, according to the Minnesota Operation Safety Net Twitter account.
Even peaceful protesters breaking curfew are subject to arrest. Please go home and stay there. Curfew is in effect in Hennepin, Ramsey, Anoka and Dakota counties until 6 a.m. #MNOSN #OperationSafetyNet pic.twitter.com/4tTm8e9JsI— Minnesota OSN (@MinnesotaOSN) April 13, 2021
As most of the protesting crows lingered, tear gas was deployed by police just before 8 p.m., triggering a spate of clashes between demonstrators and law enforcement.
I was pepper sprayed in the eye while photographing the scene at the Brooklyn Center Police Department. I had cameras & my press credentials clearly in view. It came from the side w/o warning I was shooting so I didn’t even see it coming. This is a GoPro version of the incident. pic.twitter.com/TIhzsnG1Ri— Carlos Gonzalez (@CarlosGphoto) April 13, 2021
As the night wore on, there was more tear gas, rubber bullets and flash grenades used, while crowds were seen throwing fireworks and water bottles at police, according to local reports.
BLM looters break inside & steal from an O’Reilly’s auto store overnight in Brooklyn Center, Minn. Auto stores were infamously looted & burnt to the ground last year in Minneapolis. #DaunteWright pic.twitter.com/nEHyR1Ck0x— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) April 12, 2021
Widespread incidents of looting took place again, including at a Dollar Tree near the police precinct, with smoke later seen coming from the site, footage of which was posted on Twitter by a Star Tribune reporter.
Dollar store is pouring smoke pic.twitter.com/TCdaaFH2BG— Andy Mannix (@AndrewMannix) April 13, 2021
According to Minneapolis police spokesman John Elder, at least one person was arrested on suspicion of looting at the E. Lake Street Target.
One last video for the night: Brooklyn Center Police and protesters exchange fireworks and less-lethal munitions. pic.twitter.com/EtPilMdFHW— Mark Vancleave (@MDVancleave) April 13, 2021
At around 9:30 p.m. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliot addressed the protesters, urging them to go home, with the crowd gradually starting to dwindle.
Daunte Wright, 20, was fatally shot by a Brooklyn Center veteran police officer, identified by Star Tribune as Kimberly Potter, after being pulled over for a traffic violation.
According to reports, he was initially stopped for having air fresheners dangling from his rear-view mirror, which is illegal in the state. According to a release later issued by the Brooklyn Center Police Department, upon further examination, officers determined that there was an outstanding arrest warrant for Wright.
A scuffle broke out between the cops and Wright, who attempted to get back inside his vehicle.
Amid the struggle, the police officer who intended to deploy a Taser fired a handgun instead, resulting in an "accidental discharge," according to Police Chief Tim Gannon.
Warning: Graphic footage, including the shooting— The Recount (@therecount) April 12, 2021
Here's the body camera footage of the killing of Daunte Wright that was just released. pic.twitter.com/A2X8qS8ZFH
After explaining video footage from the scene of the incident and analyzing the officer's subsequent reaction to the shooting, Gannon said:
"The officer had the intention to deploy their Taser but instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet."
Footage of the incident posted online shows the officer exclaiming, "Holy s**t. I just shot him."
Sunday’s police shooting of Daunte Wright sparked clashes between police and protesters, riots and widespread looting in Brooklyn Centre, the community where the incident took place.
US President Joe Biden said on Monday that there is no justification for looting and violence in the United States, as he commented on the recent killing of the African American man by a police officer in the state of Minnesota.
The fatal shooting fed into the already tense situation in Minnesota amid the trial of Derek Chauvin, a former US police officer charged with killing black man George Floyd on 25 May 2020.
Floyd died after Chauvin and three other officers arrested him outside a Minneapolis shop, where he was accused of using a counterfeit $20 bill.
A viral video from the scene showed white police officer Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck for over eight minutes, despite the latter's pleas that he could not breathe. Floyd,46, died in a local hospital the same day.
While all four officers involved in the detention were fired and later arrested, Chauvin has since been charged with 2nd-degree murder, 2nd-degree manslaughter, and 3rd-degree murder.
Floyd’s death in police custody had unleashed a sea of protests against police brutality and racial injustice, spearheaded by the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, with repercussions felt around the world.