• Search

Rioters Loot, Burn Minneapolis-Area Stores To Get ‘Justice’ For Daunte Wright

Brooklyn Center, MN – Violent protesters rioting for justice torched and looted businesses in the Minneapolis area for the second consecutive night in the wake of the fatal officer-involved shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright.

The mayhem and destruction began just hours after Minnesota Governor Tim Walz issued a state of emergency in three Minnesota counties – Hennepin, Anoka, and Ramsey – and implemented a 7 p.m. curfew in those areas.

Hundreds of Minnesota National Guard troops were also deployed throughout the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area.

Walz and other state and local officials begged the community to protest without violence during a press conference on Monday afternoon, but their pleas and the curfew went unheeded by hundreds of rioters who converged outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department (BCPD) later that night, CBS News reported.

Minnesota state troopers and National Guard soldiers joined up with BCPD officers outside the fenced-off police headquarters to hold the mob at bay.

Police issued multiple dispersal orders, but they were ignored, CBS News reported.

When officers began firing tear gas and flashbangs into the crowd, rioters launched fireworks back at them.

Operation Safety Net (OSN), a joint effort between multiple law enforcement agencies and the National Guard, said the rioters threw “bottles, fireworks, bricks and other projectiles at public safety officials,” throughout the confrontation, CNN reported.

Police continued to use tear gas every few minutes in order to push the mob away from the building before firing less-lethal rubber projectiles at members of the group, CBS News reported.

As the chaos was unfolding, the Brooklyn City Council voted to bar the BCPD from using chemical irritants and rubber projectiles as means of crowd control, according to the news outlet.

A CNN reporter in the middle of a live broadcast was confronted by a Brooklyn Center resident amid the flashes and booming noises and accused the network of having incited the rioting, one video showed.

“Y’all be twisting up the stories,” the angry resident told the reporter. “What I think about this is all the press and all the extra s—t y’all do makes this worse!”

“Y’all need to get outta here with all that twisting up the media and s—t!” he said. “I don’t care if you’re live or not. Get away from here with all that media s—t that y’all doing.”

Police were able to push the crowd several blocks away from police headquarters by approximately 10:30 p.m., at which point the group began to disperse, CBS News reported.

Multiple officers were injured during the mayhem, and an estimated 40 rioters were arrested.

Multiple businesses were looted overnight, including at least five in Minneapolis, according to an OSN tweet.

“We are thankful there has been minimal damage to our business corridors tonight,” Minneapolis Police Department Deputy Chief Amelia Huffman said.

Video footage from outside a demolished Dollar Tree store in Brooklyn Center showed smoke billowing from the building’s smashed-out windows.

Wright, who was wanted for a weapons-related charge, was fatally shot by a Brooklyn Center police officer after being pulled over on Sunday for “expired tabs,” Minnesota Governor Tim Walz said during a press conference on Monday afternoon.

The officer who pulled the trigger yelled “Taser! Taser! Taser!” prior to firing a pistol at the suspect instead of the less-lethal weapon, bodycam footage showed.

She has since been identified by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) as BCPD Officer Kim Potter, a 26-year veteran of the department, CNN reported.

Officer Potter has been placed on administrative leave.

U.S. Representative Rashinda Tlaib (D-MI) declared in a tweet on Monday night that the fatal officer-involved shooting wasn’t accidental.

“It wasn’t an accident. Policing in our country is inherently & intentionally racist,” Tlaib tweeted. “Daunte Wright was met with aggression & violence. I am done with those who condone government funded murder.”

“No more policing, incarceration, and militarization. It can’t be reformed,” she wrote.

Walz, who quickly took a stand against law enforcement following the officer-involved shooting, said on Monday that society needs to “stop pretending” that police shootings are inevitable.

“I am closely monitoring the situation in Brooklyn Center,” Walz tweeted shortly after the incident took place. “Gwen and I are praying for Daunte Wright’s family as our state mourns another life of a Black man taken by law enforcement.”

He demanded the legislature hold hearings on some of the proposed police reform measures, to include ending the practice of “shackling” juvenile offenders.

“That angst and that trauma people feel is exacerbated if they feel no one is listening,” the governor said while expressing his “deepest condolences” to the Wright family. “There are things that can be done… there’s proven remedies that can be put in place.”

President Joe Biden also weighed in on the situation on Monday, calling the officer-involved shooting a “really tragic thing that happened,” ABC News reported.

“The question is: was it an accident? Was it intentional?” President Biden asked. “That remains to be determined by a full-blown investigation.”

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said during the press conference that law enforcement and government entities have “undoubtedly” not made sufficient changes to prevent officer-involved shootings.

Frey said Wright’s death “appears to be a careless and tragic mistake in a profession where you just can’t make careless and tragic mistakes.”

“Our communities of color are suffering each and every day,” the mayor told reporters.

He said the community is still reeling from the death George Floyd, who died while being arrested by the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) last year.

Former MPD Officer Derek Chauvin is currently on trial for the murder of Floyd.

Frey said the events of the past 12 months have acted as a “floodgate” for the trauma black communities have suffered for hundreds of years.

“But this anguish that we’re all suffering cannot translate into violence,” he said on Monday afternoon. “We must see peace tonight.”

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter said during the press conference that he is “mourning alongside” the Wright family.

“There’s almost an unlimited number of places I’d rather be than here talking about yet another unarmed African American man at the hands of law enforcement,” Carter said.

He said the community is “still mourning George Floyd” and waiting for “justice.”

“We lost a 20-year-old young man as the ultimate result of a traffic stop,” he said, referring to Wright’s death. “That should never happen.”

“It’s true that there is just no justification for us losing Daunte Wright. Those responsible for their deaths must be held responsible,” Carter declared. “Why and how does this keep happening over and over again?”

The mayor said it is also important to remember that causing violence and destruction in the communities where Floyd and Wright lived does nothing to “honor their memories.”

“I am channeling my energy into how we urgently stop these tragedies from occurring in our community,” Carter said. “There’s no space in my heart where I feel patient about our urgent need to stop this from recurring.”

Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said there will be hundreds of law enforcement officers out on the streets in the Twin Cities metro area for the foreseeable future.

Approximately 100 Minnesota National Guard soldiers were deployed on Sunday night, Minnesota National Guard Brigadier General Shawn Manke said during the press conference.

Approximately 500 troops had been assigned to the metro area’s “Operation Safety Net” by Monday morning, and over 1,000 soldiers will be in the Twin Cities by the end of the day, Manke said.

The officer-involved shooting occurred just before 2 p.m. on April 11 near the intersection of Orchard Avenue and 63rd Avenue North, KSTP reported.

The Brooklyn Center Police Department (BCPD) said an officer stopped the vehicle due to a traffic violation and soon discovered the driver had a warrant out for his arrest.

According to court records, the warrant was issued in connection with an incident that took place in Minneapolis in June of 2020, the Associated Press reported.

Police in a statement of probable cause that Wright was allegedly waving a gun and fled from officers, resulting in a warrant being issued for his arrest.

Police released bodycam footage of the incident on Monday, which showed an officer trying to place Wright in handcuffs outside of his vehicle after telling him he had a warrant out for his arrest.

A moment later, the wanted fugitive suddenly began resisting arrest, the video showed.

He swiftly yanked his arm away and jumped back into the driver’s seat of the vehicle.

“Taser! Taser! Taser!” a second officer yelled as the initial officer struggled with the suspect.

Just then, a gunshot rang out.

“S—t!” the officer who fired the weapon said, just before the vehicle sped off. “I just shot him.”

“At one point as officers were attempting to take the driver into custody, the driver re-entered the vehicle,” Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said in a statement Sunday, according to ABC News. “One officer discharged their firearm, striking the driver.”

Wright continued to drive the vehicle for several blocks before he collided with another motorist, KSTP reported.

BCPD officers and paramedics immediately rendered aid, but Wright died from his wounds at the scene.

Wright’s girlfriend, who was inside the vehicle at the time of the incident, was transported to North Memorial Health Hospital with non-life threatening injuries, KSTP reported.

The occupants of the car Wright crashed into were not injured, police said.

Wright’s mother, Katie Wright, said she was on the phone with him during the traffic stop.

“I heard scuffling, and I heard the police officers say, ‘Daunte, don’t run,’ and then the other officer said, ‘Put the phone down’ and hung it up,” Katie Wright told KSTP. “And a minute later, I called and his girlfriend answered — that was the passenger — and said that he’d been shot, and she put it on the driver’s side and my son was laying there lifeless.”

Wright’s family said he was “a good kid” who “had a whole life ahead of him,” ABC News reported.

“Daunte had a smile to make anyone’s heart melt. He was definitely a jokester, he loved to joke with people, especially his brothers and sisters,” the family said in a statement. “He did not deserve this.”

“We just want people to know Daunte was a good kid,” the statement read. “He loved being a father to Daunte Jr.”

Protesters carrying Black Lives Matter signs showed up at the scene nearly immediately after the officer-involved shooting, ABC News reported.

By the time the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (MBCA) arrived, the crowd had swelled to more than 100, some of whom were “highly agitated,” Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said.

Members of the group barged through police tape and confronted officers wearing riot gear at one point during the night, the Star Tribune reported.

They busted out the windows of at least two patrol cars, police said.

Some of the rioters were seen hurling blocks of concrete, according to KSTP.

Others threw bags of garbage, rocks, water bottles, and various other projectiles, The New York Times reported.

A mob of as many as 500 rioters gathered outside the BCPD headquarters later in the night, the Star Tribune reported.

“We saw rocks and other objects thrown at the police department. There were reports of shots fired in the area of the police department,” Commissioner Harrington said during a press conference late Sunday night, according to ABC News. “Within hours of that, a secondary group we heard was at the Shingle Creek mall or business center and we have reports of approximately 20 businesses that were broken into during that period.”

Approximately 20 businesses were hit by looters during the overnight mayhem.

The widespread rioting spilled into neighboring communities as the night wore on.

Commissioner Harrison said the Minnesota National Guard was mobilized at the request of Brooklyn Center officials.

The National Guard had already been deployed in Minneapolis to help with any violent uprisings that could arise during the ongoing trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, ABC News reported.

“At this time, we have essentially a full activation,” the commissioner said during the press conference on Monday. “You will see a robust assortment of National Guard, state and local police departments working together over the next two or three days as we once again prepare for the trial and also are prepared for any other and any further civil unrest that may come from the Brooklyn Center officer-involved shooting today.”

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin

Newsletter

Sign up to our daily newsletter so you don't miss out on the latest events surrounding law enforcement!

Follow Me

Follow us on social media and be sure to mark us as "See First."