State Watch

Protesters, police clash over death of Daunte Wright

Protesters in Minnesota clashed with police on Monday evening after the police chief in Brooklyn Center said that the officer who shot Daunte Wright during a traffic stop on Sunday meant to deploy a taser instead of her gun. 

Hundreds of people flowed into the streets of the Minneapolis suburb to renew calls for police reform and an end to systemic racism in law enforcement. Tensions in the area and nation are already strained amid the trial of Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer accused of murdering George Floyd. 

Videos and photos taken during the protests late Monday show protesters marching, chanting and holding signs demanding justice for Wright’s death. 

According to the Star Tribune, police fired tear gas, rubber bullets and flash grenades to disperse the crowds. Protesters later responded by throwing water bottles and fireworks.

Minnesota State Patrol Col. Matt Langer said that 40 people were arrested during the unrest. The city had imposed a 7 p.m. curfew on Monday. 
Police in nearby Minneapolis said 13 people had been arrested. 
“We are here today on behalf of Daunte and all the lives lost at the hands of police, and to prevent further loss of lives at the hands of police,” Matt Branch, a community member, told the Star Tribune. “The injustices that took place over the last 24 hours were not only heartbreaking, but also calculated and methodical without remorse or consideration for the pain of which our community is collectively experiencing.” 

Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, was killed after police in Brooklyn Park pulled him over for an expired license tag. Police said that after obtaining Wright’s identification during the stop, officers realized he had an outstanding warrant for his arrest.

Body camera video released by the police department on Monday shows while officer attempted to take Wright into custody, he attempted to re-enter his car. 

During a resulting struggle with Wright, an officer is seen on the video pulling a gun and firing a single shot into him. Wright drives off for a short distance, later crashing and dying from the gunshot wound. 

“Holy shit, I just shot him,” the officer is heard saying on the video. 
Later on Monday, The Hennepin County Medical Examiner ruled Wright’s death was a homicide. 
Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott also said on Monday the city council had passed a measure to give his office broad command of the local police department. 
Elliott has called for the firing of the officer who killed Wright. The officer has been identified as Kim Potter, a 26-year police veteran.

“At such a tough time, this will streamline things and establish a chain of command and leadership,” Elliot said.

— Updated at 8 a.m. 

Tags Black Lives Matter Criminal justice reform in the United States Derek Chauvin Law enforcement in the United States Minneapolis Police Department Police brutality in the United States Race in the United States

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