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Protests Erupt in Minnesota After Police Shooting

A protester confronts police in front of the Brooklyn Center Police station on April 11, 2021, in Brooklyn Center, Minn.
A protester confronts police in front of the Brooklyn Center Police station on April 11, 2021, in Brooklyn Center, Minn.

Police in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center used tear gas and flash bangs to disperse about 200 protesters who took to the streets in the predawn hours of Monday after a 20-year-old black man was shot dead during a traffic stop Sunday. The man was later identified as Daunte Wright.

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, 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.

Police didn’t immediately identify Wright or disclose his race, but family members and some protesters who gathered near the scene shortly after the shooting waved flags and signs reading “Black Lives Matter.”

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 he was closely following the situation and said he and his wife were praying for the family of Daunte Wright “as our state mourns another life of a Black man taken by law enforcement.”

In an interview with reporters, the dead man’s mother, Katie Wright, said her son called her during the traffic stop and she heard his exchange with police. Wright said she did not want the protests; she just wanted her son home.

The shooting occurred as tensions remain high, with the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin taking place in Minneapolis. Chauvin is charged with murder in connection with the death of George Floyd in police custody last year.

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