Daunte Wright 1

Communities across the U.S. marched and mourned for the third consecutive night Tuesday in memory of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man who was fatally shot by a police officer after a traffic stop over the weekend.

Meanwhile, the cities of Brooklyn Center, Minneapolis and St. Paul imposed 10 p.m. curfews.

Wright’s death on Sunday has shaken a nation already unsettled by a series of police killings.

Police in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center once again used teargas and flash-bang grenades to disperse a crowd of Black Lives Matter (BLM) activists protesting the shooting of Daunte Wright.

Police declared a riot and ordered the crowd to disperse. At least one arrest was made.

For the third night in a row, protesters rallied outside the police station, chanting Wright’s name and “Black Lives Matter,” as police sought to disperse the “unlawful assembly.”

A stubborn crowd rallied outside the police station despite the near-freezing temperature and light snow.

As police fired smoke and gas grenades into the crowd, some activists tried putting plastic buckets and traffic cones over them. Over the loudspeaker, officers called for media and press to “leave the area now.”

One video from the scene showed a line of officers rushing and arresting a group of activists who were kneeling on the ground and chanting.

Umbrellas

Some of the protesters brought umbrellas and tried to set up a “shield wall” previously observed in Hong Kong, facing a line of state troopers wearing riot armor and armed with batons. One activist carried a shield with ‘ACAB’ (All Cops Are Bastards) graffiti on it.

Protests in Brooklyn Center, a community northwest of Minneapolis, first erupted on Sunday after a female police officer shot and killed 20-year-old Daunte Wright.

The officer, later identified as Kim Potter, “accidentally discharged” her firearm into Wright when he slipped away from her partner and tried to escape in his car, police said after releasing body camera footage of the incident. She was giving a “taser” warning and believed to have been using her stun gun instead. Wright had an outstanding warrant for a gun violation. Potter has since resigned, but protesters are calling for her to be criminally charged.

Office set ablaze

A riot was declared and one person was detained after activists in Portland set the city’s police union office ablaze, amid ongoing protests following the killing of Daunte Wright.

Around 100 demonstrators on Tuesday night gathered at a nearby park before marching to the Portland Police Associate (PPA) building, the city’s police force said.

Protesters launched fireworks and used vehicles to block adjacent roads. Portland police issued numerous warnings over a loudspeaker telling the crowd that they needed to allow traffic to move through.

As the protesters lit a fire at the back of the union office, possibly in a garbage can. Other members of the group were seen using accelerants on a door as flames began to engulf part of the building.

Videos posted to social media show an inferno raging in front of the entrance to the building as officers arrived at the scene.

The blaze was later extinguished by the city’s fire department.

The chaos was part of a “direct action” event demanding justice for Wright. On Monday night, demonstrators clashed with officers outside of a police station in Portland after a vigil for the 20-year-old descended into violence. Police said demonstrators threw bottles, rocks, and fireworks at the officers as they attempted to break into the building.

Police and protesters faced off again in Brooklyn Center after nightfall, with hundreds of protesters gathered in the city’s heavily guarded police headquarters, now ringed by concrete barriers and a tall metal fence, and where police in riot gear and National Guard soldiers stood watch. “Murderapolis” was scrawled with black spray paint on a concrete barrier.

“Whose street? Our street!” the crowd chanted under a light snowfall.

About 90 minutes before the curfew deadline, state police announced over a loudspeaker that the gathering had been declared unlawful and ordered the crowds to disperse. That quickly set off confrontations, with protesters launching fireworks toward the station and throwing objects at police, who launched flashbangs and gas grenades, and then marched in a line to force back the crowd.

“You are hereby ordered to disperse,” authorities announced, warning that anyone not leaving would be arrested. The state police said the dispersal order came before the 10 p.m. curfew because protesters were trying to take down the fencing and throwing rocks at police. The number of protesters dropped rapidly over the next hour, until only a few remained. Police also ordered all media members to leave the scene and threatened them with arrest.

At least one person was injured when police fired crowd control munitions, video showed.

“Brooklyn Center passed a resolution banning unnecessary crowd control measures intended to stifle protest including rubber bullets, teargas and kettling,” the American Civil Liberties Union chapter in Minnesota said on Twitter. “We urge all law enforcement agencies there to follow this policy and remember honoring the Constitution is part of your job.”

Across town, more than two dozen prayed and paid respects in the freezing weather at the memorial erected Monday night where Wright was killed — a giant, rust-brown sculpture of a clenched fist, surrounded by flower bouquets, messages and candles.

“The whole community feels helpless,” said Katie Russell, 34, from Brooklyn Park. “All we can do right now is comfort each other.”

As Brooklyn Center mourned, other cities around the U.S. started to protest.

Chicago

Several dozen people marched through downtown Chicago Tuesday evening, calling for justice for Daunte Wright and Adam Toledo, a 13-year-old boy fatally shot by a Chicago police officer at the end of March.

According to videos of the demonstration shared on social media, protesters could be heard chanting: “Say his name, Daunte Wright!”

Ohio

In Columbus, Ohio, protesters got into the police headquarters, which was locked with handcuffs, according to student newspaper The Lantern. Police deployed pepper spray as they tried to get inside.

California

Dozens of people marched in downtown Sacramento, California, facing off with police at a shopping complex there, according to local media FOX-40.

Texas

In Dallas, Texas, protesters blocked roads.

Philadelphia

In Philadelphia, more than 200 people marched.

Resignations

Earlier Tuesday, officer Kim Potter, a 26-year veteran of the police force, submitted her letter of resignation, Mayor Mike Elliott said in a news conference. He said the city did not ask her to resign but had been moving toward firing her.

“I have loved every minute of being a police officer and serving this community to the best of my ability, but I believe it is in the best interest of the community, the department, and my fellow officers if I resign immediately,” Potter wrote in the letter, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Police Chief Tim Gannon also resigned Tuesday. Cmdr. Tony Gruenig, who has been with the department for 19 years, will take over as acting chief.

A decision on whether prosecutors will charge Potter could come as soon as Wednesday. The Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association said in a statement “no conclusions should be made until the investigation is complete.”

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension identified Potter as the officer who shot Wright on Sunday. The Hennepin County medical examiner said Wright died of a gunshot wound to the chest and ruled his death a homicide.

Gannon said he believed Potter mistook her firearm for her Taser when she shot Wright. The department released body camera footage of the incident during which Potter shouted “Taser” several times before firing, then expressed surprise upon realizing she had shot Wright.

Wright’s family called for the officer to be held accountable in an emotional news conference with civil rights attorney Ben Crump on Tuesday.

“I hope that since she went ahead and she resigned that they hold her at the highest (accountability) because she was the law,” said Wright’s aunt, Naisha Wright.

Crump said he was stunned when he heard that another Black man had been killed at the hands of police not far from where former police officer Derek Chauvin is on trial in George Floyd’s death.

“If you told me and I didn’t see little Daunte’s face and his mother and grandmother crying, I wouldn’t believe it,” Crump said alongside the Wright and Floyd families.

Crump said he thought that during the trial, “police would be on their best behavior, that they would exercise the greatest standard of care, that they would concentrate on de-escalation in a way they have never concentrated in America.”

About a six-hour drive from where Wright died, the Kenosha, Wisconsin, police officer who shot Jacob Blake, a Black man who was paralyzed from the waist down after the shooting in August, has returned to regular duty and won’t face any administrative discipline.

The worst day of my life

Katie Wright, Daunte’s mother, called the day her son died “the worst day of my life.” She described the phone call she received as he was pulled over and how, after he was shot, the woman in the passenger seat of the car video-called her – and she saw her son lifeless in the driver seat.


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