Brooklyn Center, MN, erupted in violence after police shot and killed a mixed-race man who had active illegal gun warrants. Twenty-year-old Daunte Wright was pulled over for a traffic stop at 2 p.m. local time on April 11 and fled when police tried to arrest him on outstanding warrants. He was shot while fleeing and resisting arrest, driving a few blocks away before succumbing to his injury. Protestors and rioters were quick to act, gathering at the police department and then attacking nearby retail establishments. The National Guard was activated to quell the growing violence in an area that sits adjacent to Minneapolis.
Crowds gathered outside Brooklyn Center’s police department were reported by Fox News to number about 500. Protesters smashed police cars and scuffled with officers until about 9:30 p.m. when the assembly was declared unlawful. Multiple rounds of tear gas were fired by law enforcement in an effort to disperse the crowd. At 11 p.m., Minnesota Democrat Governor Tim Walz announced, “I am closely monitoring the situation in Brooklyn Center. Gwen and I are praying for Daunte Wright’s family as our state mourns another life of a Black man taken by law enforcement.”
According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, “National Guard troops arrived just before midnight as several businesses around a Walmart were completely destroyed, including Foot Locker, T-Mobile and a men’s clothing store.” Scenes of decimated stores were posted on social media Monday morning, as Brooklyn Center emerged from a night of looting.
Mayor Mark Elliot, who is also black, said in part, “[W]e continue to ask that members of our community gathering do so peacefully, amid our calls for transparency and accountability.”
Who Was Daunte Wright?
Wright was well-known to local law enforcement, who had an arrest warrant outstanding for waving a handgun around on June 30, 2020. The official allegations say that when police tried to arrest him on that charge, he effectively eluded capture. Wright failed to appear in court on April 2, 2021, and a warrant was issued for his arrest on misdemeanor gun charges and fleeing from police.
Court records say Wright failed to appear at a hearing, apparently for his initial appearance, on April 2, resulting in a warrant for his arrest. Brooklyn Center police said they wear cameras and that “[w]e believe both body-worn cameras and dash cameras were activated during this incident.”
What About George Floyd?
It’s too soon to tell how this series of events will impact Derek Chauvin’s trial for killing George Floyd, currently underway in Minneapolis. There are expected to be two more weeks of testimony in the trial, where jurors are now not sequestered. Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill indicated at the trial’s outset that he was likely to sequester the jury during deliberations but would reserve sequestration during the trial unless events required it.
Read more from Scott D. Cosenza.