The family of a 20-year-old Minnesota man says he was shot and killed by police Sunday before reentering his car and crashing the vehicle several blocks away, further inflaming tensions over the use of police violence across the nation.
Relatives of Daunte Wright told a crowd gathered in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, about 10 miles north of Minneapolis, that Wright drove for a short distance after he was shot and died at the scene following a traffic stop, according to The Star Tribune.
“He called me at about 1:40, said he was getting pulled over by the police,” said a woman, who identifies herself as Wright’s mother, according to a Facebook Live video. “He said they pulled him over because he had air fresheners hanging from his rearview mirror.”
Citing Wright’s mother, The New York Times reported that Wright was in a vehicle his family had just given him two weeks ago, and was driving with his girlfriend.
By Sunday evening, about 100 people had gathered near the scene where Wright died, reported the Star-Tribune.
Protesters pushed past police tape, confronting officers donning riot gear and breaking the windshields of two police cars. Police fired non-lethal rounds to try to disperse the crowd, said the newspaper.
But as police presence fell later in the evening, thecrowd calmly gathered to light candles and write messages like “Justice for Daunte Wright” in chalk near the scene.
“The officer shooting in Brooklyn Center today is tragic. We are asking the protesters to continue to be peaceful and that peaceful protesters are not dealt with with force,” Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott said on Twitter.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced on Twitter he was “closely monitoring the situation in Brooklyn Center.”
According to a statement from Brooklyn Center Police, officers stopped an individual shortly before 2 p.m. Sunday after determining the driver had an outstanding warrant. Police said when they tried to arrest the driver, the driver reentered the vehicle and drove away.
An officer fired at the vehicle, striking the driver. Police said the vehicle traveled several blocks before hitting another vehicle.
Police also said Brooklyn Center officers wear body-worn cameras and they also believe dash cameras were activated during the incident.
The shooting happened with Minneapolis already on edge and midway through the trial of the first of four police officers in George Floyd’s death. Floyd’s death sparked nearly a month of protests for police reform where he died in Minneapolis and across the country.
Contributing: The Associated Press