BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. (AP) — A Black man died after being shot by police in a Minneapolis suburb during a traffic stop and crashing his car several blocks away, sparking violent protests that lasted into the early hours Monday as officers in riot gear clashed with demonstrators and the man’s mother called for calm.
The man was identified by family as 20-year-old Daunte Wright, and he died Sunday in a metropolitan area already on edge and midway through the trial of the first of four police officers charged in George Floyd’s death. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz tweeted he was praying for Wright’s family "as our state mourns another life of a Black man taken by law enforcement.”
Police didn’t immediately identify Wright, but protesters who gathered near the scene waved flags and signs reading "Black Lives Matter.” Others walked peacefully with their hands held up. On one street, written in multi-colored chalk: "Justice for Daunte Wright.”
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, Minnesota Department of Public Safety commissioner John Harrington said at a news conference. The protesters had largely dispersed by 1:15 a.m. Monday, he said.
Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott announced a curfew in the city that expired at 6 a.m. Monday. In a tweet he said, "We want to make sure everyone is safe. Please be safe and please go home.”
The trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis officer charged in Floyd’s death, was slated to continue Monday. Floyd, a Black man, died May 25 after Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck. Prosecutors say Floyd was pinned for 9 minutes, 29 seconds.
Harrington said more National Guard members and state law enforcement personnel would be deployed around the Twin Cities and in Brooklyn Center in addition to personnel already in place for Chauvin’s trial at the Hennepin County courthouse in Minneapolis.
The courthouse was fortified ahead of Chauvin’s trial with tall fencing topped with barbed wire, coils of razor wire between the fences and concrete barriers. National Guard troops with military vehicles, sheriff’s deputies and county security guards continued to stand watch.
Meanwhile, all Brooklyn Center students will be instructed online Monday because school buildings will be closed, Brooklyn Center Community Schools Superintendent Carly Baker said in a statement.
"We are focused on taking steps in the moment. 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,” Baker said. "We know our community experienced trauma and we need the time and space to process.”