BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. – Tensions between protesters and police intensified on Monday, one day at a time, for the second time in a row The Brooklyn Center policeman fatally shot and killed Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old black man, during a traffic obstruction.
Minnesota governor Tim Walz imposed a curfew in three counties, including Brooklyn Center, Minneapolis and the capital St. Paul, from 7:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. Tuesday.“The largest police presence” in Minnesota history was called in to patrol the Twin Cities, he said during a press conference that day.
Crowds gathered in front of the Brooklyn Center Police Station Monday afternoon, and by dusk, hundreds were gathering at dusk. A drum beat incessantly and the crowd broke into frequent chants of “Daunte Wright!” Some shouted profanity at officers.
About 90 minutes after curfew, the police began firing gas canisters and lightning grenades to evict them. Clouds blew over the crowd and at least pushed some back for a moment. Some protesters wearing gas masks took smoke canisters and threw them back to the police.
At least one arrest was made on suspicion of looting a Target store, the Star Tribune reported, citing Minneapolis police spokesman John Elder.
A candlelight memorial to Wright, including a statue with a raised fist, was also erected where he was shot Monday night.
The demonstrations in New York City were relatively peaceful – demonstrators blocked streets and the Manhattan Bridge in solidarity, but no arrests were made.
A small crowd gathered Oscar Grant Plaza in Oakland, Californiafor a vigil. Oscar Grant was fatally shot and killed by Oakland police in 2009.
A Group of about 200 protesters marched towards a police station in Portland, Oregon. The police fired rubber bullets and lightning strikes. ordered the crowd to disperse when some fireworks went off and windows were broken.
In Louisville, Kentucky, where Breonna Taylor was shot by police just over a year ago, Protesters blocked traffic with tables and chairs, Sing Wright’s name.
And in Los Angeles, the county sheriff is planning to get the National Guard ready for the next few days FOX-11 Los Angeles.
“Prayers are not enough. Daunte Wright should still be with us. While an investigation is ongoing, our nation needs justice and healing, and Daunte’s family needs to know why their child is dead – they deserve answers.” Vice President Kamala Harris said on twitter amid protests across the country.
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The Minnesota Twins, Wild and Timberwolves have all postponed home games scheduled for Monday.
“We concluded that it was the right thing not to play today, thanks to the respect for the Wright family but also the safety of everyone involved in today’s game,” said Dave St., President of the Twins Said Peter.
During a press conference on Monday, the Brooklyn Center Police Department released body cameras of the incident, which took place in the suburbs of Minneapolis about 10 miles from there George Floyd died in police custody last May.
Wright was shot and killed once after the traffic obstruction, said Police Chief Tim Gannon. Body cam footage showed two other police officers approaching Wright’s car and the officer who fired the shot behind them.
When the officer in the driver’s side of the vehicle began handcuffing Wright, he came off, a fight ensued, and Wright jumped back into the driver’s seat. An officer threatened to curse him and shouted: “Taser!” At least three times before I shot Wright and then said, “Oh (expletive), I just shot him.”
The car drove away and drove several blocks before hitting another vehicle.
Wright’s death, which sparked protests and riots on Sunday night, was condemned as murder by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner.
During the press conference, parishioners watching from the lobby of the police department headquarters expressed their anger when others outside protested.
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“This is murder. This is white supremacy. Who will stand up for our ancestors who built this land but are still held down?” said Jonathan Mason, a community activist.
In a statement, NAACP national president Derrick Johnson said Wright should be “still alive today”.
“Whether carelessness and negligence or an obvious lynching in this day and age, the result is the same. Another black man died by the police,” said Johnson.
Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott described the shooting as “deeply tragic” and said the officer should be fired. He later announced that the city council had voted to give his office “authority” over the police force.
This “will streamline things and build a chain of command and control,” he wrote on Twitter. He also said the city administrator has been fired and the deputy city administrator will take over his duties.
Brooklyn Center is a humble suburb north of Minneapolis whose demographics have changed dramatically in recent years. In 2000, more than 70% of the city was white. Today, the majority of the population is black, Asian, or Latin American.
Organizers of the Movement for Black Lives, a national coalition of more than 150 black-led political groups and interest groups, pointed to Wright’s assassination as one more reason why cities must embrace proposals to defuse an “irreparably broken racist system.”
“The fact that the police killed him just a few miles from where they murdered George Floyd last year is a slap in the face of an entire community,” said Karissa Lewis, the coalition’s national field director.
Featuring: Ryan W. Miller, Eric Ferkenhoff, and Jorge Ortiz, USA TODAY; The Associated Press