Minnesota police fatally shot man during traffic stop, family says; crowd holds vigil

The family of a 20-year-old Minnesota man says he was shot and killed by police Sunday before reentering his car and crashing the vehicle several blocks away, further inflaming tensions over police violence across the nation.

Relatives of Daunte Wright told a crowd gathered in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, located on the northwest border of Minneapolis, that Wright drove for a short distance after he was shot and died at the scene following a traffic stop, according to The Star Tribune.

“He called me at about 1:40, said he was getting pulled over by the police,” a woman, who identifies herself as Wright’s mother, said according to a Facebook Live video. “He said they pulled him over because he had air fresheners hanging from his rearview mirror.”

By Sunday evening, about 100 people had gathered near the scene where Wright died on the northwest border of Minneapolis, reported the Star-Tribune.

Later Sunday, protesters pushed past police tape and confronted officers donning riot gear. The crowd broke the windshields of two squad cars and police fired non lethal rounds to try to disperse the crowd, said the newspaper.

But as police presence eased later in the evening, the crowd calmly gathered to light candles and write messages like “Justice for Daunte Wright” in chalk near the scene.

“The officer shooting in Brooklyn Center today is tragic. We are asking the protesters to continue to be peaceful and that peaceful protesters are not dealt with with force,” Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott said on Twitter.

According to a statement from Brooklyn Center Police, officers stopped an individual shortly before 2 p.m. Sunday after determining the driver had an outstanding warrant. Police said when they tried to arrest the driver, the driver reentered the vehicle and drove away. An officer fired at the vehicle, striking the driver. Police said the vehicle traveled several blocks before striking another vehicle.

Police also said Brooklyn Center officers wear body-worn cameras and they also believe dash cameras were activated during the incident.

The shooting happened with Minneapolis already on edge and midway through the trial of the first of four police officers in George Floyd’s death. Floyd’s death sparked nearly a month of protests for police reform where he died in Minneapolis and across the country.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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