Daunte Wright has been identified as the 20-year-old Minnesota man who was killed by police in a Minneapolis suburb. Wright was pulled over by officers in Brooklyn Center just before 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 12, 2021, according to a press release from the police department. During the traffic stop, police said Wright began to drive away and an officer opened fire, striking him. Wright drove another several blocks before crashing, police said.
According to police, Wright was pronounced dead at the scene after officers and responding medical personnel attempted life-saving measures. A woman was in the passenger seat of Wright’s car and she suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the crash. She was taken to a local hospital, police said. Wright was identified as the victim by his mother, Katie Wright, who spoke to media at the scene of the crash, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. According to Wright’s mother, her son’s body had been in the street for several hours.
The shooting sparked protests Sunday night in Brooklyn Center. Many protesters came to the city from Saint Paul, where a vigil celebrating the birthday of Justin Teigen was taking place. Teigen, 24, was found dead in 2009 after a traffic stop. His family says he was killed by officers and thrown into trash, while police say he died after running from police and hiding in a dumpster, according to Fox 9. Wright’s death also comes as the third week of the Derek Chauvin trial is set to begin on Monday. Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, is facing murder charges in the death of George Floyd.
The Brooklyn Center Police Department said it has asked the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to “conduct an independent investigation of the incident.” According to Brooklyn Center Police, “Brooklyn Center officers wear body-worn cameras. We believe both body-worn cameras and dash cameras were activated during this incident.” The video footage from the body cams and dash cams has not been made public. Witnesses at the scene told reporters part of the incident was possibly captured on Facebook Live, but no footage had surfaced on social media as of Sunday night.
Police did not release any other details and said more information would be provided by the BCA as the investigation unfolds. The BCA is a state-level law enforcement agency that also investigated Floyd’s murder, as well as other police-involved deaths, including the shootings of Jamar Clark in Minneapolis, Philando Castile in St. Anthony and Justine Damond in Minneapolis.
Here’s what you need to know about the shooting of Daunte Wright:
Wright Was Pulled Over Because of an Air Freshener in the Rearview Mirror of His Mother’s Car, His Family Says
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
According to Brooklyn Center Police, the stop for a traffic violation occurred Sunday afternoon in the 6300 block of Orchard Avenue. “Officers determined that the driver of the vehicle 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,” police said in the press release
Police said in the statement that the officers who had been in pursuit and responding medical personnel “attempted life-saving measures, but the person died at the scene.” He has since been identified as Wright. The crash occurred at the intersection of Kathrene Drive & 63rd Ave North in Brooklyn Center. According to police, the occupants in the car struck during the crash were not injured.
Wright’s family said the traffic violation that led to the stop was an air freshener that was hanging from the rearview mirror of his mother’s car, which he was driving, Minnesota Public Radio reporter Nina Moini said on Twitter. Police have not confirmed that detail. According to the Minnesota State Patrol, drivers are not allowed to hang air fresheners or anything else from the rearview mirror because it could block the driver’s view.
“Minnesota law prohibits any objects suspended between the driver and the windshield other than: sun visors, rearview mirrors, global positioning systems or navigation systems when mounted or located near the bottommost portion of the windshield; and electronic toll collection devices,” Minnesota State Patrol Sergeant Jesse Grabow wrote in the Crookston Times.
Wright’s Family Say He Was the Father of an Almost 2-Year-Old Son & He ‘Just Made Everyone Happy’
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
Wright’s family said at the scene that he was the father of a son, Daunte Wright Jr., who will turn 2 in July, Star Tribune reporter Kim Hyatt tweeted.
Wright’s sister said on a YouTube livestream by independent 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.”
Protesters gathered at the scene of Wright’s death Sunday night, according to the Star Tribune. Wright’s mother asked the crowd to remain peaceful. Officers from Brooklyn Center and other departments arrived at the scene in body armor, riot gear and with masks and shields, and deployed less-than-lethal rounds on some in the crowd, according to photos and videos from the scene.
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