The National Guard was deployed in Minneapolis as hundreds of people looted and rioted into the early hours Monday after a black man was shot dead while trying to flee arrest less than 10 miles from where George Floyd died.
The fatal shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center came as the Twin Cities was already in a state of high alert over the trial of ex-cop Derek Chauvin, charged with Floyd’s murder last May.
Wright, who had an outstanding warrant, had been pulled over around 2 p.m. Sunday — and was shot after jumping back in his car and trying to race away, crashing to a stop after driving several blocks, police said.
His mother had quickly raced to the scene — and called for calm as crowds soon joined her there, local media said.
But within hours, at least 500 protesters had taken to the streets, according to the Star Tribune — many looting and trashing up to at least 20 stores, officials later revealed.
“Hey! They’re coming!” a man was heard yelling on one video that captured several people running out of a looted store with their hands full of stolen items as nearby car horns repeatedly honked. Other videos appeared to show groups doing victory dances as they left completely trashed stores.
As many carried Black Lives Matter banners through the streets, protesters jumped on top of police vehicles — and started throwing rocks and other projectiles at officers, officials said.
Protesters even “shot up” a police precinct in neighboring Brooklyn Park, with multiple rounds fired through the front door, some reaching the lobby, officials told Fox 9. No one was injured in the attack.
Police fought back against the violent protesters with tear gas, flash bangs and rubber bullets.
“It feels like we’re in a war zone,” one woman said as she filmed live.
One video on social media shows a man lifted up a large slab of cement just feet from a line of riot cops — staggering back to the ground after seemingly getting hit by a rubber bullet before he could throw it.
At least one bullet was fired at a police station, shattering the front door but not injuring anyone, police told Kare11.
At about 11:30 p.m., Brooklyn Center police declared the crowd an unlawful assembly and said anyone who remained — including journalists — would be arrested, Minnesota Public Radio said.
The National Guard was deployed and arrived just before midnight, the Star Tribune said — with officials announcing that more troops would be arriving throughout Monday to help quell further violence.
Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott also announced a curfew in the city until 6 a.m. Monday.
“We want to make sure everyone is safe. Please be safe and please go home,” he said in a tweet.
Elliott said the community is “filled with grief.”
“Our hearts are with his family, and with all those in our community impacted by this tragedy,” he said.
Gov. Tim Walz said he was “closely monitoring the situation,” and was “praying for Daunte Wright’s family as our state mourns another life of a Black man taken by law enforcement.”
Looting was widespread late Sunday into early Monday, not just in Brooklyn Center — a city of about 30,000 people located on the northwest border of Minneapolis — but spilling into north and south Minneapolis, the local reports noted.
Several businesses around a Walmart were completely destroyed, including a Foot Locker, a T-Mobile, and a New York men’s clothing store, the Star Tribune said.
Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said at a press conference early Monday that there would be a heavy police presence throughout the Twin Cities — though crowds had largely dispersed by the morning.
“You will see a robust assortment of National Guard, state and local police departments working together over the next two or three days,” he said, noting the ongoing Chauvin trial as well as “any further civil unrest that may come from the Brooklyn Center officer-involved shooting.”
Brooklyn Center schools were also closed Monday, with all classes going virtual instead.
“I haven’t entirely processed the tragedy that took place in our community and I’m prioritizing the safety and wellbeing of our students, families, staff members and community members,” district superintendent Carly Baker said in a statement.
“We know our community experienced trauma and we need the time and space to process.
Wright was shot after trying to drive away from officers who pulled him over for an outstanding warrant, police said. It was not immediately clear what the warrant was for.
His vehicle traveled several blocks before striking another vehicle. His girlfriend sustained non-life-threatening injuries during the crash.
Wright’s mother, Katie Wright, tearfully told reporters that her son was pulled over just for having “air fresheners in the car,” breaking local laws against having anything hanging from the rear-view mirror.
“All he did was have air fresheners in the car and they told him to get out of the car,” Wright said.
She said that her son called her during the stop, asking her for help with insurance details because she recently gave him the car, Kare 11 said.
During the call, she said she heard scuffling and an officer telling her son, “Daunte, don’t run” before the line went dead.
“A minute later, I called and his girlfriend answered, which was the passenger in the car, and said that he’d been shot,” the mom said.
She pointed the phone’s camera at “the driver’s side, and my son was laying there, lifeless,’ Katie Wright told reporters at the scene.
Police said Brooklyn Center officers wear body cameras and they also believe dash cameras were activated during the incident. The department said it has asked the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to investigate.
With Post wires
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