BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. (NewsNation Now) — Minnesota Governor Tim Walz instituted another dusk-to-dawn curfew and law enforcement agencies stepped up their presence across the Minneapolis area Monday as protests continue following the fatal shooting of a Black man during a traffic stop.
Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said Monday that a routine traffic stop, triggered by an expired car registration, escalated into a deadly shooting when officers ran a check on Wright and found an outstanding warrant for him.
Police video footage presented at the briefing showed an officer trying to handcuff Wright next to the car, before he breaks free and gets back inside the car. At that point, a second officer yells, “Taser, Taser, Taser,” before firing a single shot from her handgun, according to the recording.
The shooting sparked violent protests in a metropolitan area already on edge because of the trial of the first of four police officers charged in George Floyd’s death.
While dozens of officers in riot gear and troops guarded the Brooklyn Center police station, more than 100 protesters chanted Wright’s name and hoisted signs that read “Why did Daunte die?” and “Don’t shoot.” Some passing cars flew Black Lives Matter flags out of their windows and honked in support.
The number of Minnesota National Guard troops was expected to more than double to over 1,000 by Monday night.
Organizers from the Movement for Black Lives, a national coalition of more than 150 Black-led political and advocacy groups, pointed to Wright’s killing as yet another reason why cities must take up proposals for defunding an “irreparably broken, racist system.”
Wright “should not have had his life ripped from him last night. The fact that police killed him just miles from where they murdered George Floyd last year is a slap in the face to an entire community who continues to grieve,” said Karissa Lewis, the coalition’s national field director.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said any decision on charges against the officer will be made by the Washington County attorney under an agreement adopted last year by several county prosecutors aimed at avoiding conflicts of interest. Freeman has been frequently criticized by activists in Minneapolis over his charging decisions involving deadly use of force by police.
Officer Kim Potter was identified as the shooter. She has been with the Brooklyn Center Police Department for 26 years and is on standard administrative leave. Gannon would not say whether she would be fired following the investigation.
Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott called the shooting “deeply tragic,” and later announced that the city council had voted to give his office “command authority” over the police department.
This “will streamline things and establish a chain of command and leadership,” he wrote on Twitter. He also said the city manager had been fired, and that the deputy city manager would be taking over his roles.
According to the city’s charter, the city manager has control of the police department. Now-former City Manager Curt Boganey, speaking earlier Monday to reporters, said the officer who shot Wright would get “due process.”