The last thing Minneapolis needs right now is another officer-involved shooting and killing of a Black man in the midst of the Derek Chauvin trial – but that’s exactly what they got last night when 20-year-old Daunte Wright was killed during a traffic stop in a Minneapolis suburb.
At around 2 p.m. local time (3 p.m. ET), police say they were trying to take a man into custody after they determined he had outstanding warrants during a traffic stop. He got back into his vehicle and an officer shot him, police said. He then drove several blocks before striking another vehicle, police said.
Wright called his mother minutes before he was shot and killed to inform her that he had been stopped by Brooklyn Center police officers for having an air freshener hanging from his rearview mirror. When his mother called back a few moments later, Wright’s girlfriend who was in the car with him answered and told her he’d been shot.
Wright’s mother, Katie Wright, told CNN affiliate WCCO her 20-year-old son called her as he was getting pulled over.
“He said they pulled him over because he had air fresheners hanging from the rearview mirror,” the mother said, crying. “A minute later, I called and his girlfriend answered, which was the passenger in the car, and said that he’d been shot.”
“He didn’t deserve to be shot and killed like this,” Wright said.
Protesters gathered Sunday evening and marched toward the police department, leading to what the city’s mayor described as “growing civil unrest.”
Aerial footage from CNN affiliate KARE on Sunday showed several police cars around the Brooklyn Center crash site being swarmed by crowds of people following another killing of a Black man. The video showed people attempting to damage police cars.
The state deployed the Minnesota National Guard, and Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott issued a curfew through 6 a.m. Monday local time (7 a.m. ET).
Brooklyn Center Community Schools announced that schools will be closed Monday and move to distance learning “out of an abundance of caution” following the shooting, Superintendent Dr. Carly Baker wrote in a message posted on the school’s website.
“I haven’t entirely processed the tragedy that took place in our community and I’m prioritizing the safety and wellbeing of our students, families, staff members and community members.”
About 100 people were at the initial scene and 100 to 200 people later marched toward the Brooklyn Center Police Department, Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said at an overnight press conference.
In nearby Minneapolis, Harrington said, a strike team was deployed to deal with reports of break-ins and shots fired.
“You will see a robust assortment of National Guard, state and local police departments working together over the next two or three days,” Harrington said.
Body camera footage of the incident exists, but has not yet been released, authorities said.