BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. — Tensions between protesters and police intensified for the second night in a row Monday, a day after a Brooklyn Center police officer fatally shot Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, during a traffic stop.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz imposed a curfew from 7 p.m. until 6 a.m. Tuesday for three counties that include Brooklyn Center, Minneapolis, and the capital of St. Paul. Just over 500 members of the National Guard have been called in to patrol around the Twin Cities.
Crowds began gathering outside the Brooklyn Center police station Monday afternoon, with hundreds there by nightfall despite the governor’s dusk-to-dawn curfew. A drumbeat incessantly, and the crowd broke into frequent chants of “Daunte Wright!” Some shouted obscenities at officers.
About 90 minutes after the curfew deadline, police began firing gas canisters and flash-bang grenades in an attempt to drive them away, sending clouds wafting over the crowd and pushing some back at least briefly. Some protesters, wearing gas masks, picked up smoke canisters and threw them back toward police
A candlelight memorial for Wright, including a raised fist statue, was also erected where he was shot Monday night.
At the Brooklyn Center police station, Minnesota State Troopers faced off with protesters as the rain fell. Some protesters began chanting “Hands up, don’t shoot!” at one point, while others warned people around them not to throw things at the officers.
The town of Brooklyn Center passed a resolution banning crowd control tactics during protests, even as some tweets reported flash bangs and tear gas at the protests.
The Minneapolis area is forecast to be showered by snow and rain tonight and Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.
“Because temperatures are expected to fall into the 30s overnight, light snow” should be expected in the area, but “little snow accumulation is expected,” the weather service wrote.
The Minnesota Twins, Wild and Timberwolves all postponed home games scheduled for Monday.
“We came to the conclusion that the right thing to do was for us to not play today, rooted in respect for the Wright family but also rooted in our mind in the safety of all of those involved in today’s game,” Twins President Dave St. Peter said.
Demonstrations were already underway Monday night in New York City, where protesters blocked roads and the Manhattan Bridge in solidarity.
During a news conference Monday, the Brooklyn Center Police Department released bodycam footage of the incident that took place in a Minneapolis suburb about 10 miles from where George Floyd died in police custody last May.
Wright was shot once and died after the traffic stop, police Chief Tim Gannon said. Bodycam footage showed two other officers approaching Wright’s car and the officer who fired the shot standing behind them.
As the officer on the driver side of the vehicle began to handcuff Wright, he broke free, a struggle ensued, and Wright jumped back into the driver’s seat. An officer threatened to tase him, shouting, “Taser!” at least three times before shooting Wright, then saying, “Oh (expletive), I just shot him.”
The car drove away, traveling several blocks before hitting another vehicle.
Wright’s death, which set off protests and unrest Sunday night, was ruled a homicide by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner.
During the news conference, community members watching from the lobby of the Police Department headquarters expressed their anger as others protested outside.
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“This is murder. This is white supremacy. Who’s going to stand up for our ancestors who built this land but are still kept down?” said Jonathan Mason, a community activist.
In a statement, NAACP National President Derrick Johnson said Wright “should be alive today.”
“Whether it be carelessness and negligence, or a blatant modern-day lynching, the result is the same. Another Black man has died at the hands of police,” Johnson said.
Contributing: Ryan W. Miller, Eric Ferkenhoff and Jorge Ortiz, USA TODAY; The Associated Press