On Sunday, 20-year-old Daunte Wright was killed by police in a Minneapolis suburb. A police officer accidentally used a pistol instead of a stun gun. We tell you what is known about the reasons for the car stop and the arrest of Wright, the reactions of the authorities and the re-erupted protests of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Accidental Shot: Police version and investigation
The chain of tragic events began with a car stopping for a minor violation.
In Brooklyn Center, just 16 km from Minneapolis, on the afternoon of April 11, police stopped Daunte Wright's car: he was driving with expired license plates and violated Minnesota's law prohibiting hanging air fresheners on rear-view mirrors, reports NBCnews.
"He was stopped because his car registration expired," said Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon.
When the officer approached, an object was seen hanging from the rearview mirror. It was then discovered that an arrest warrant had been issued for Wright. Then they tried to detain Wright, but he got into the car and tried to escape.
One of the police officers, Kim Potter, shot at Wright, after which the car drove several hundred meters and crashed into another car. The police found Wright dead. In addition to Wright, there was a passenger in the car who was injured, not life-threatening.
On Monday, Minnesota Police Chief Tim Gannon said the police wanted to use a stun gun, not a pistol and fired her accidentally.
"As far as I know, the police wanted to use a shocker, but she shot him by mistake," Gannon said. According to him, the shot was a tragic accident that led to the death of a person.
Body-worn cameras on police officers and cameras on their cars were turned on. The video was soon released. In this fragment, Wright climbs into a car.
Stopped for a freshener: What Daunte Wright's mother says
Daunte Wright's mother, Katie, says her son called her when the police stopped his car and asked for the insurance number. He said he was detained because air fresheners were hung on his rearview mirror (this is illegal in Minnesota).
According to Katie, she heard how her son was told to get out of the car, and then what the police said not to run. Then the call ended.
"A minute later, I called back, and I was answered by his girlfriend, who was with him in the car. She said that he had been shot and that my son's body was lying on the ground, with no signs of life," Wright said.
Katie Wright said her son was afraid of the police and she heard the fear in his voice the last time she spoke to him.
In an interview with the StarTribune newspaper, she said: "Nobody tells us anything. Nobody talks to us ... I asked that my son not be left lying on the ground."
How politicians reacted
Police officer Kim Potter was sent on administrative leave during the investigation. On April 13, she wrote a letter of resignation of her own free will. CNN reports that the woman has served as a police officer for 26 years. At the same time, at the last press conference, people expressed fears that the officer would be allowed to resign and not be fired. City Mayor Mike Elliott responded that he had "not yet accepted her resignation."
Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon also resigned on Tuesday.
Mayor of Brooklyn Center Mike Elliot called the incident a tragedy, reports AP.
“We cannot afford to make mistakes that lead to the death of others. We will do everything in our power to ensure that justice is done and our communities become one,” said Elliot.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Waltz said the state was mourning another black man whose life was taken by the law enforcers.
Vice President Kamala Harris said on Tuesday that "law enforcement must meet the strictest standards."
"He (Daunte Wright - ed.) was supposed to be alive today. The President and I grieve together with his family and loved ones, together with the entire nation for his loss. Our country needs justice and healing, and law enforcement agencies must meet the highest standards of responsibility. At the same time, we know that people will continue to die if we do not fully address racial injustice and inequality in our country," said Harris.
The murder occurred during the Floyd trial
The murder comes amid a U.S. court hearing on the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American, who was detained by Minneapolis police on May 25, 2020.
Floyd was detained because of the statement of the supermarket seller about the use of counterfeit banknotes. The policeman pressed his knee on his neck and did not let go when the detainee said that he could not breathe.
Now the former policeman Derek Chauvin, who detained Floyd, is charged with murder or manslaughter. Three more ex-officers will stand trial by the end of 2021.
Floyd's murder a year ago sparked protests against police violence against blacks in the United States. After the murder of 20-year-old Daunte Wright, protests erupted with renewed vigor.
Tear gas and collisions
On Sunday, hundreds of protesters gathered for a rally in Brooklyn Center. They chanted Wright's name, demanded to punish the police.
The protesters threw stones and other objects at two police cars and the police station. The police used tear gas and a curfew was imposed. The Minnesota National Guard was taken out onto the streets of the city.
At the same time, a shopping center was robbed in the city. Firearms were fired at the door of a police station in nearby Brooklyn Park. In the vicinity of the city, about 20 shops were attacked.
The protests continued on Monday. Katie Wright spoke Monday night at a rally at the site where he was shot by police.
The police station was also unsettled, with protesters shouting and beating drums, chanting "No justice, no peace" and "Our streets, our streets," chanted Wright's name. Some threw water bottles at the police and even fired fireworks in their direction.
On Monday, President Joe Biden called for peace and tranquility, saying there would be no excuse for looting stores.
Minnesota extended its curfew on Tuesday.
The rallies and pogroms that erupted after Wright's assassination have been compared to the protest movement following the death of George Floyd a year ago, which continued throughout the country for weeks.