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'No Justification' for Violence in Minnesota After Police Shooting, Biden Says

Police officers take cover as they clash with protesters after an officer shot and killed a black man in Brooklyn Center, Minneapolis, April 11,2021.

President Joe Biden said Monday there was "no justification" for the looting and violence that erupted in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center following a police shooting Sunday.

"I'm calling for peace and calm," Biden said to reporters at the White House. "And we should listen to Daunte's mom, who is calling for peace and calm."

Minnesota's governor has set a curfew from 7 p.m. Monday local time until 6 a.m. Tuesday morning across the Minneapolis and St. Paul region.

Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, was killed during a traffic stop Sunday afternoon.

Brooklyn Center police said in a statement that officers had stopped the motorist shortly before 2 p.m. Sunday. After determining the driver had an outstanding warrant for illegally owning a firearm, police tried to arrest him. The driver reentered the car and drove away. An officer fired at the vehicle, striking the driver, police said. The car traveled several blocks before hitting another vehicle.

On Monday, police said the officer accidentally shot Wright when she meant to use her Taser instead.

"The question is, was it an accident? Was it intentional?" Biden asked Monday, adding that an investigation would determine what happened.

Earlier Monday at a news conference, Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon called the shooting "an accidental discharge" and said the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension was investigating the incident.

A protester wears a gas mask while confronting police in front of the Brooklyn Center Police station on April 11, 2021, in Minnesota.
A protester wears a gas mask while confronting police in front of the Brooklyn Center Police station on April 11, 2021, in Minnesota.

Gannon also released body camera footage from the officer who fired, which showed three officers around a stopped car. When another officer attempted to handcuff Wright, a struggle ensued. The officer is heard shouting "Taser!" several times before firing her weapon.

Both Gannon and Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott, who was also at the news conference, called the shooting "deeply tragic" and pledged to do everything they could to ensure justice is done.

Brooklyn Center, a suburb of Minneapolis, is a few miles from where the trial is continuing for one of the police officers accused in the death of George Floyd last May.

As with that highly publicized incident, the death of Wright sparked protests overnight Sunday.

In an early morning news conference, Commissioner John Harrington of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety said crowds were reported to have marched toward the Brooklyn Center Police Department. He said officers and media reports indicated rocks and other objects were thrown at the building amid reports of gunfire in the area.

From his Twitter account, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz said that he was closely following the situation and that he and his wife were praying for Wright's family "as our state mourns another life of a Black man taken by law enforcement."

In an interview with reporters before the unrest, Wright's mother, Katie Wright, urged protesters to be peaceful and focused on the loss of her son. She said he called her during the traffic stop, and she heard his exchange with police.

Katie Wright said he told her "all he did was have air fresheners in the car, and they told him to get out of the car." She said during the call, she heard scuffling and then someone saying, "Daunte, don't run" before the call ended. When she called back, her son's girlfriend answered and said he had been shot.