What to Know About the Killing of Daunte Wright

A police officer shot Mr. Wright on Sunday in Brooklyn Center, Minn., about 10 miles from where Derek Chauvin is on trial in the killing of George Floyd.,


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Hundreds of demonstrators poured into the streets of Brooklyn Center, Minn., on Sunday night after the police shooting of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, during a traffic stop.

The shooting injected more frustration and anxiety into the Twin Cities region, where the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with murdering George Floyd, is now in its third week.

Here’s what we know about what happened in Brooklyn Center.

According to Chief Tim Gannon of the Brooklyn Center Police Department, officers pulled Mr. Wright over on Sunday afternoon for a traffic violation related to expired registration tags. Officers then discovered that he had a warrant for his arrest.

As the police tried to detain Mr. Wright, he stepped back into his car, prompting a brief struggle with officers, Chief Gannon said.

In graphic body camera footage shown to reporters on Monday, one officer can be seen pointing a handgun at him and shouting “Taser.” After the car pulls away, the officer yells an obscenity and says, “I just shot him” to two other officers, according to the video.

The car traveled several blocks and struck another vehicle. The police and medical workers pronounced Mr. Wright dead at the scene.

“It is my belief that the officer had the intention to deploy their Taser but instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet,” Chief Gannon said at a news conference. “This appears to me, from what I viewed, and the officer’s reaction and distress immediately after, that this was an accidental discharge that resulted in a tragic death of Mr. Wright.”

Court records indicate that a judge issued a warrant for Mr. Wright earlier this month after he missed a court appearance. He was facing two misdemeanor charges after the Minneapolis police said he had carried a pistol without a permit and had run from officers last June.

Chief Gannon did not identify the officer who fired her gun, saying that she was put on administrative leave. He said the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the agency investigating, would release the names of the officers involved.

Katie Wright, who identified herself as the victim’s mother, told reporters that her son had been driving a car that his family had given him two weeks ago and that he had called her as he was being pulled over.

“He said they pulled him over because he had air fresheners hanging from his rearview mirror,” she said.

She added that her son had been driving with his girlfriend when he was shot. The police said a woman in the car had injuries from the crash that were not life-threatening.

Ms. Wright said her son had dropped or put down the phone, after which she heard “scuffling” and an officer telling Mr. Wright not to run. Then, she said, someone hung up. When she called back, her son’s girlfriend answered and told her that he had been shot.

At a vigil near the scene of Mr. Wright’s death on Sunday, his mother urged protesters to be peaceful.

“We want justice for Daunte,” she said. “We don’t want it to be about all this violence.”

But hours later, outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department, protesters chanted and threw bricks and cans at officers. Demonstrators inched closer to the building until they were pushed back after officers fired projectiles that burst with a loud bang and gas that burned their throats and eyes.

John Harrington, the commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, said that the unrest that followed Mr. Wright’s death had spread to a mall in Brooklyn Center and that people had broken into about 20 businesses there.

Mayor Jacob Frey of Minneapolis declared a state of emergency on Monday and announced a curfew from 7 p.m. Monday to 6 a.m. Tuesday.

At the news conference on Monday, Mayor Mike Elliott of Brooklyn Center called for the officer who shot Mr. Wright to be fired.

“My position is that we cannot afford to make mistakes that lead to the loss of life of other people in our profession,” he said.

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