Looting in Minneapolis, National Guard activated after police shooting of Daunte Wright

Police officer-involved shooting sparks unrest in Minnesota city

Protesters, law enforcement clash in Brooklyn Center, Minn., after a 20-year-old man was shot and killed by police following a traffic stop. President of the Maryland Fraternal Order of Police Clyde Boatwright and former NYPD detective Oscar Odom weigh in.

Minneapolis erupted in looting and riots late Sunday after an officer fatally shot a man during a traffic stop just 10 miles from where Derek Chauvin had George Floyd pinned to the pavement last May.

The Minnesota National Guard was activated to quell what devolved into violent demonstrations over the fatal officer-involved shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright earlier Sunday in the city of Brooklyn Center, located in Hennepin County, on the border of Minneapolis.

A citywide curfew was issued by Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott until 6 a.m. CT Monday. About 500 people had gathered overnight outside of a police precinct in the city and clashed with officers.

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“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,” Elliott said in a statement. “While 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.”

Elliott addressed those in the community “filled with grief” in a statement published at 2 a.m. CT stating that the mayor would continue to support “peaceful gatherings.” A news conference is scheduled at Brooklyn Center City Hall at 11 a.m. CT Monday to provide more information, he said.

In a tweet, he said, “We want to make sure everyone is safe. Please be safe and please go home.”

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz tweeted he was “closely monitoring the situation” and “praying for Daunte Wright’s family as our state mourns another life of a Black man taken by law enforcement.”

Brooklyn Center Police did not immediately identify Wright or disclose his race, but some demonstrators who gathered near the scene waved flags and signs reading “Black Lives Matter.” On one street, written in multicolored chalk, it read: “Justice for Daunte Wright.”

In a statement, Brooklyn Center Police said that officers had stopped an individual shortly before 2 p.m. Sunday. After determining the driver had an outstanding warrant, police tried to arrest him. But the driver reentered the vehicle and drove away, police said. An officer fired at the vehicle, striking the driver. Police said the vehicle traveled several blocks before crashing into another vehicle. A female passenger sustained nonlife-threatening injuries.

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    People run as police attempt to disperse the crowd at the Brooklyn Center Police Department, late Sunday, April 11, 2021, in Brooklyn Center, Minn. The family of Daunte Wright, 20, told a crowd that he was shot by police Sunday before getting back into his car and driving away, then crashing the vehicle several blocks away. The family said Wright was later pronounced dead. (Carlos Gonzalez/Star Tribune via AP))

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    Flash bombs are used by authorities to disperse a crowd gathered in protest at the Brooklyn Center Police Department, late Sunday, April 11, 2021, in Brooklyn Center, Minn. The family of Daunte Wright, 20, told a crowd that he was shot by police Sunday before getting back into his car and driving away, then crashing the vehicle several blocks away. The family said Wright was later pronounced dead. (Carlos Gonzalez/Star Tribune via AP)

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    Police fire dispersants into a crowd of protesters outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department, late Sunday, April 11, 2021, in Brooklyn Center, Minn. The family of Daunte Wright, 20, told a crowd that he was shot by police Sunday before getting back into his car and driving away, then crashing the vehicle several blocks away. The family said Wright was later pronounced dead. (Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune via AP)(Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune via AP)

Speaking at a press conference, Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington detailed how demonstrators gathered shortly after the shooting and crash, with some jumping on top of police cars and confronting officers. Marchers also descended upon the Brooklyn Center Police Department building where rocks and other objects were thrown at officers, he said.

The demonstrators had largely dispersed by 1:15 a.m. Monday. Harrington added that about 20 businesses had been broken into at the city’s Shingle Creek shopping center. He said law enforcement agencies were coordinating to tame the unrest, and the National Guard was activated. 

Video shared by journalist Andy Ngo shows BLM protesters rioting over what he described as the police-involved shooting of a suspected gang member. 

Demonstrators on Sunday evening walked to the Brooklyn Center police headquarters near North 67th and North Humboldt avenues, where people pushed past police tape and confronted officers in riot gear, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. The group of about 500 protesters was repeatedly ordered to disperse by officers, who then used tear gas, flash bangs and rubber bullets on the crowd. The police headquarters sign was covered in graffiti and later climbed by demonstrators chanting Wright’s name.

National Guard troops arrived before midnight. The Brooklyn Center Walmart was targeted by looters who also completely destroyed a nearby Foot Locker, T Mobile and a New York men’s clothing store. Looting spilled over into north and south Minneapolis late Sunday into Monday morning as stores in Uptown and along Lake Street were also broken into and emptied.

A police headquarters in another neighboring city of Brooklyn Park was “shot up” around 8 p.m. Sunday, Fox 9 Minneapolis reported. Multiple rounds were fired through the building’s glass front doors with some shots reaching the lobby. No injuries were reported.

The attack resembled what happened during the unrest following Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020, when the Minneapolis Police Department’s 3rd precinct was burned. Protesters at the time piled debris inside the building and set it on fire while chanting Floyd’s name.

Tensions are high in the region as the trial for Chauvin, the former Minneapolis officer charged in Floyd’s death, continues into its third week on Monday in Minneapolis. Harrington said more National Guard members would be deployed around the city of Minneapolis and in Brooklyn Center.

Katie Wright, Daunte Wright’s mother, huddled with loved ones near the scene of the shooting in the 6300 block of Orchard Avenue in Brooklyn Center and pleaded for her son’s body to be removed from the street, the Star Tribune reported.

She said her son had called her when he was getting pulled over, and she heard scuffling before the call ended. When she called back, she said his girlfriend told her Daunte Wright had been shot.

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Carolyn Hanson lives near the crash scene and told the newspaper that she saw officers pull the man out of the car and perform CPR. Hanson said a passenger who got out was covered in blood.

The Brooklyn Center Police Department said it asked the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to investigate. Brooklyn Center officers wear body-worn cameras, and dash cameras are believed to have been activated during the incident, police said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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