Hundreds of protestors gathered outside of the Brooklyn Center Police Department this Wednesday evening following the fatal Daunte Wright shooting.
A statement from John Harrington, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner, read, “The crowd tonight continued to present some public safety challenges as they pulled on the fence, shot pyrotechnics, lobbed bricks and bottles over the fence. I think tonight we were around 500 people there, yelling and chanting late into the evening.”
According to Harrington, there was not one report of a fire or looting near the Brooklyn Center, Saint Paul, or Minneapolis.
Chief of the Minnesota State Patrol, Col. Matt Langer, said that the crowd on Wednesday evening was much smaller than Tuesday’s.
Langer talked with reporters, noting that “things started out very peaceful.”
“I can tell you that the discussion we had internally was that the number one tool we wanted to use tonight was patience, and that’s what we exercised for a long period of time even though we saw groups coming and fortifying and we saw umbrellas and we saw plywood shields and makeshift barricades and blocks and bricks brought in to the scene,” said Langer.
Hennepin County Sheriff Speaks Out
Dave Hutchinson, Hennepin County Sheriff, said otherwise. He told reporters that “a lot” of objects were being thrown at authorities on Wednesday.
Authorities began issuing dispersal orders around the time of the 10 p.m. curfew, which is when the crowd began to scatter, according to Langer. The Minnesota State Patrol was not forced to use any rubber bullets or chemical munitions when arresting protestors.
According to Hutchinson, the majority of people arrested on Wednesday night were not residents of Brooklyn Center.
What Sparked The Protests?
The protests began on Sunday after Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old black man and father of a 2-year-old boy, was fatally shot in an officer-involved shooting.
Wright was 10 miles northwest of Minneapolis taking a drive in Brooklyn Center when he was stopped by police on Sunday afternoon. According to the officers at the scene, he was initially pulled over due to an expired registration tag. However, police determined that he had an outstanding gross misdemeanor warrant during the traffic stop.
As police attempted to take Wright into custody, he got back in his car. It was at that moment that Kim Potter, a 26-year veteran of Brooklyn Center’s Police Department, fired her gun at him.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner released a preliminary report on Monday, labeling his death as a homicide due to a fatal gunshot wound to the chest.
The Police Department said that Potter’s intention was to deploy her taser rather than her gun and that the shooting was “accidental.”
Body camera evidence shows Potter giving Wright a warning that she was about to deploy her taser.
“It is my belief that the officer had the intention to deploy their Taser, but instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet. This appears to me, from what I viewed and the officer’s reaction and distress immediately after, that this was an accidental discharge that resulted in the tragic death of Mr. Wright,” said Brookly Center Police Chief Tim Gannon.
However, according to civil rights attorney, Ben Crump, “A 26-year veteran of the force knows the difference between a taser and a firearm. Kim Potter executed Daunte for what amounts to no more than a minor traffic infraction and a misdemeanor warrant. Daunte’s life, like George Floyd’s life, like Eric Garner’s, like Breonna Taylor’s, like David Smith’s, meant something.”
Potter is set to appear in court this Thursday at 1:30 p.m. local time.