Minneapolis, April 13 2021: In a city on edge because of the manslaughter trial of Derek Chauvin, Minneapolis experienced a fresh spate of protests outside the police station in Brooklyn Center after a police officer fatally shot a Daunte Wright, a young black man.
Wright’s killing sparked protests overnight in Brooklyn Center and the looting of a shopping mall, and authorities in Minneapolis and surrounding suburbs including Brooklyn Center announced a curfew from 7:00 pm Monday until 6:00 am Tuesday.
According to the video footage from the body camera, the police officer, while trying to restrain Wright after the discovery of pending warrants against him, shouts “Taser! Taser! Taser!”, standard practice before using stunning a suspect, but instead drew her gun and shot him. Wright, fatally wounded, drives off. He crashed his car a few blocks away. How the officer mistook her gun for a taser is unclear.
The officer involved, Kim Stone is now on administrative leave pending inquiry.”The officer drew their handgun instead of their taser,” said Brooklyn Center police chief Tim Gannon confirmed. “This was an accidental discharge that resulted in the tragic death of Mr Wright,” Gannon said. “There is nothing I can say to lessen the pain of Mr Wright’s family”, he added.
Shortly before 9:00 pm local time on, nearly two hours after the curfew went into effect, dozens of protesters continued to wave signs and chant slogans in front of the police station in Brooklyn Center, where Sunday’s killing occurred. Police fired tear gas at the protesters several times and ordered the crowds to disperse.
President Joe Biden called the killing “tragic,” but warned against any potential violent unrest.
The protests overnight prompted the defense attorney for former officer Derek Chauvin, who is facing murder and manslaughter charges for George Floyd’s death, to ask the judge presiding over the high-profile case to sequester the jury. Judge Peter Cahill refused, stating “this is a totally different case.”
The prosecution is seeking to prove Floyd’s death was due to asphyxiation by the officers conducting the arrest and have called several medical experts to bolster their case. Witnesses include, cardiologist Jonathan Rich and ex-police officer and law professor, Seth Stoughton. Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, 39, also took the witness stand and emotionally recounted stories from their childhood.
Brooklyn Center, where Wright was shot, is a northwest suburb of Minneapolis located not far from the heavily guarded Hennepin County Government Center where Chauvin is on trial. Officers fired tear gas and flash bangs to disperse a crowd of hundreds who gathered outside a police station in Brooklyn Center after Wright was shot. National Guard troops were deployed. Domestic sporting contests have been postponed.
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