Brooklyn Center police stopped Daunte Wright because of an air freshener hanging in his car, his mother told Minnesota reporters at the scene. Other relatives also claimed that an air freshener triggered the traffic stop.
Although they didn’t name him, police confirmed they stopped a man after a traffic stop. They didn’t indicate why they stopped his vehicle, but they did say he was wanted on a warrant. Police have not confirmed the air freshener angle.
Protests broke out in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, after the police shooting in a state that has had multiple controversial police-related deaths, including George Floyd, Justine Damond, and Philando Castile. A former police officer, Derek Chauvin, is on trial in Floyd’s death about 15 minutes from where the Wright police shooting happened.
Many details remain unclear in the Wright shooting, including why the officer opened fire, and whether Wright had a weapon of any kind.
The man shot by police was identified by his family as Daunte Wright, 20, a young father.
Here’s what you need to know:
Wright’s Mother Made the Air Freshener Claim, Although Police Have Not Confirmed It
Family members say 20-year-old Daunte Wright was killed by a police officer in Brooklyn Center this afternoon after being pulled over for displaying an air freshener from his rearview mirror in his mother’s car. @MPRnews pic.twitter.com/mPq8tnmjaZ
— Nina Moini (@ninamoini) April 12, 2021
Wright’s mother claimed that he was stopped because he had an air freshener hanging in his car, Minnesota journalist Nina Moini wrote on Twitter, but police have not confirmed that information.
“Family members say 20-year-old Daunte Wright was killed by a police officer in Brooklyn Center this afternoon after being pulled over for displaying an air freshener from his rearview mirror in his mother’s car,” wrote Moini.
It’s against the law in Minnesota to drive with an air freshener from a rearview mirror.
Naisha Wright wrote on Facebook, “SAY HIS NAME! DUANTE WRIGHT! MY GREAT NEPHEW IS NOW FATHERLESS ALL DUE TO AIR FRESHNERS IN HIS FATHER’S WINDOW! Yall POLICE ARE HEARTLESS.”
Jasmine Marie, “Why? You were only 20!!! You were such a great cousin. You didn’t deserve this at all. I pray that we get justice for what the POLICE did to you 💔”
Chris Hrapsky, a reporter with KARE 11, wrote, “The mother of Daunte Wright says the 20-year-old called her when he was pulled over by Brooklyn Center police about 1:40 p.m. He told her police pulled him over for air fresheners hanging in the mirror, she told reporters.”
#DuanteWright‘s mother spoke earlier in the night at the protest of her son’s killing saying how Duante was on his way to get a car wash and apparently was pulled over because there was air freshener in the rear view mirror. pic.twitter.com/yFj3sQNjTm
— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) April 12, 2021
He added, “The mother says her son asked her for car insurance information over the phone, as the car was hers but she gave it to Daunte two weeks prior. She said she heard police tell Daunte to get out of the car and that they would explain why once he was out. The mother says she then heard someone yell ‘Daunte, don’t run.’ This is the story from the mother, told in front of crime scene tape. A blanket wrapped around her shoulders, crying in despair.”
In a video interview, Wright’s mother told reporters: “Then I heard the police officer come to the window and say put the phone down and get out of the car and Dante said why, and he said we will explain to you when you get out of the car. I heard the phone put on the dashboard or dropped. I heard scuffling and I heard the police officer say Daunte don’t run. Another officer said put the phone down and hung it up.”
— Chris Hrapsky (@ChrisHrapsky) April 12, 2021
His girlfriend was the passenger in the car and said that he had been shot.
Tim Nelson, of Wisconsin Public Radio, wrote on Twitter, “Katie Wright says her son, Daunte was killed in Brooklyn Center a shooting involving police. She said he was taking his new car to get it washed when an encounter with police apparently turned fatal Sunday afternoon.”
Wright’s sister told Minnesota media outlet Unicorn Riot, “He was so goofy. He just makes everybody happy. They took my brother away from me. … I’m so hurt, they really just took him. … I still can’t believe it. I’m still feeling like I’m going to go home and see him. It really hurts.”
Authorities Say the Driver Had an Outstanding Warrant & ‘Re-entered the Vehicle’
— Jeml756 (@jeml756) April 12, 2021
The name of the officer has not been released. Brooklyn Center police gave some details in a press release.
They wrote that Brooklyn Center Police Department officers “initiated a stop for a traffic violation in the area of the 6300 block of Orchard Ave. in Brooklyn Center shortly before 2 p.m. Sunday.”
Mother Katie Wright sent me this photo of her son with her grandson Daunte Jr. He’ll be 2 years old in July. pic.twitter.com/w07STKOmks
— Kim Hyatt (@kimvhyatt) April 11, 2021
Officers determined the driver had an outstanding warrant. “At one point as officers were attempting to take the driver into custody, the driver re-entered the vehicle.”
“One officer discharged their firearm, striking the driver. The vehicle traveled several blocks before striking another vehicle,” wrote police.
Officers in pursuit and responding medical personnel attempted life saving measures, but Wright died at the scene. Authorities are not releasing his name until a preliminary autopsy and family notification.
There was a female passenger in the car who sustained non life-threatening injuries during the crash. She was transported to North Memorial Health Hospital in Robbinsdale. Occupants of the vehicle that was struck during the crash were not uninjured, police wrote.
It’s believed body worn cameras and dash cameras were activated, although those haven’t been released yet. The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension wrote on Twitter that there was an officer-involved shooting, and they said it was in Brooklyn Center in their tweet.
“BCA agents and crime scene personnel are en route to an officer involved shooting incident in Brooklyn Center. More information to come,” they wrote. They’re the investigating agency.
BCA agents and crime scene personnel are en route to an officer involved shooting incident in Brooklyn Center. More information to come.
— Minnesota BCA (@MnDPS_BCA) April 11, 2021
There was no mention of whether the driver had a weapon himself.
The Star Tribune reported that a police officer was injured and taken to the hospital, according to dispatch audio. However, it was not yet clear what that officer’s condition was or how the injuries were caused.
READ NEXT: Learn More About Daunte Wright.