Mom: Minnesota Cops Killed Son After Stopping Him on an Air-Freshener Violation
Nick Pfosi via Reuters
Police in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center fatally shot and killed a 20-year-old black man in a traffic obstruction on Sunday afternoon, sparking a series of violent protests amid tension over the murder trial of Derek Chauvin.
The victim's mother spent much of the Sunday afternoon at the site of the fatal shooting, asking officers to remove the body of her son Daunte Wright from the sidewalk.
"He got out of the car and his girlfriend said they shot him," Katie Wright said, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "He got back in the car and drove away and crashed and now he's been dead on the floor since 1:47 AM ... Nobody will tell us anything. Nobody will talk to us ... I said please take my son off the floor on. "
The victim's mother said her son called her during the traffic obstruction due to the presence of air fresheners in the car, which is a Minnesota criminal offense. “He called me around 1:30 am. He said he was being stopped by the police. And I said why you're getting run over And he said they pulled him over because he had air fresheners on his rearview mirror. I said, "OK, take her down," Wright said, adding that she could hear an argument break out and someone yelling, "Down, don't run away." When she called back her son was dead.
Police said a name check revealed that Wright had a pending arrest warrant. When they tried to arrest him, he returned to his car, where he was fatally shot. Police have yet to explain the motive for opening fire, or whether Wright was believed to be armed, or what the offense was the warrant for.
Protests then broke out, despite Wright's family asking for silence. As darkness fell, police fired tear gas, rubber bullets and lightning strikes at around 500 protesters who had gathered near the Brooklyn Center Police Department and defaced the signs. They tried to enforce a 6 a.m. curfew, which, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, was largely unsuccessful. Many of the demonstrators withdrew to nearby residential areas.
Around midnight, National Guard troops were trying to secure the area when looters stormed a nearby Walmart store. Local media reports that many nearby businesses, including a Foot Locker and a New York clothing store, were damaged in the violence that followed.
Department of Public Security Commissioner John Harrington, State Patrol and Hennepin County officials said early Monday the guard would remain "robust" for the next "two or three days."
Wright's mother called for calm and told the assembled crowd, "All the violence, if it goes on, it's all about the violence. It has to be about why my son was shot for no reason. We have to make sure it's about him and not about smashing police cars because that won't bring my son back. "
By early morning the protests had spread to southern Minneapolis and were increasing in strength before the first light. Minnesota Governor Tim Walz said he is following events closely and Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliot urged police to avoid violence against peaceful protesters.
“He was so stupid. He just makes everyone happy, ”Wright's sister told citizen journalist Unicorn Riot. “You took my brother away from me. I'm so hurt that they really just took it. I still can not believe it. I still feel like I go home and see him. That really hurts. "
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