Protesters ignored heavy rains and a Minnesota government-imposed curfew on Monday (12) and took to the streets for the second night in a row to protest the death of Daunte Wright, 20, a black man killed by police on Sunday (11) during a traffic violation approach.
Hundreds of people again gathered outside the police department headquarters in Brooklyn Center, a city of 30,000 people within 12 miles of where George Floyd was murdered last year.
The group posted posters with phrases such as “stop all the murderous racist cops,” “am I next? and “without justice there is no peace”.
“The injustices that have occurred over the past 24 hours have been not only painful, but also calculated and methodical, without remorse or consideration for the pain our community collectively endures,” said Matt Branch, one of the protesters, at the Star Tribune. newspaper. “We are here today on behalf of Daunte and all the lives lost to the police.”
Officers erected a fence to keep protesters at bay, but there were attacks from both sides: As part of the group threw bottles, stones and fireworks at police, they responded. with tear gas canisters and non-lethal ammunition fire.
According to the Star Tribune, the police department also displayed, next to the American flag, another flag known as the “blue line,” which appeared as a symbol of support for the security forces but is also used by police officers. far-right groups and is seen by activists as a sign of opposition to the anti-racist movement.
A department store was vandalized, but most protesters left the streets around 10 p.m. local time, three hours after a curfew imposed by Governor Tim Walz began to attempt to contain a possible escalation in violence.
Police said three policemen were slightly injured when struck by objects thrown by the crowd. There are no official figures on injuries among protesters, but at the Brooklyn Center, 40 people have been arrested for crimes such as curfew violations and incitement to riot. In Minneapolis, 13 other people were also arrested on charges of attacks on stores.
President Joe Biden called on cities to have “peace and quiet” and authorized the dispatch of federal agents to the region. A thousand National Guard soldiers patrolled the streets on Monday evening, in an effort to prevent acts similar to those which followed Floyd’s death – and which drove thousands of people through the streets through the country – do not breed.
There are, however, some parallels that cannot be denied. Protesters, many of whom are linked to the Black Lives Matter (Black Lives Matter) movement, speak out against structural racism and police violence that statistics disproportionately target and kill black men and women.
Floyd’s death, for example, came after a white policeman, Derek Chauvin, knelt by his neck for more than nine minutes, despite witnesses who saw and filmed the scene and the black man’s pleas. who warned: “I can’t breathe”.
The approach that led to Wright’s death was viewed as an “accident” by the Brooklyn Center Police Chief. The young man was arrested by officers for a traffic violation – police said the vehicle’s license plate was irregular and there was a deodorant hanging from the rearview mirror, which the police said. state law prohibited.
After checking Wright’s documents, police found that an arrest warrant was pending following a hearing he did not attend. According to records, Wright was charged with illegal possession of a firearm and fleeing from police as part of an alternate approach last year.
Officers then gave Wright an arresting voice and, according to camera footage attached to police uniforms, attempted to handcuff him outside the vehicle. The video then indicates that there was some resistance from Wright, who climbs back into the car.
A female voice is heard shouting “taser, taser” – the name given to the stun gun used to immobilize fleeing people. According to the police department, however, an officer was confused and, instead of firing the taser, fired a weapon with lethal ammunition at Wright.
“Holy shit, I shot him,” said the same female voice.
According to files and witness reports, he still managed to drive for a few blocks until he crashed into the car, unconscious. Officers tried to revive him, but Wright was pronounced dead still at the scene.
According to the Department of Criminal Seizure (BCA), the agency investigating the case, the agent is Kimberly Potter, 48, a police officer with 26 years of experience in the business. Potter is now on administrative leave and is unlikely to return to work until at least the investigation is complete.
Protesters, along with community members and civil rights groups, are calling for the immediate dismissal of Potter and Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon. At a press conference on Monday, Gannon said that “the reaction and angst of the police” after the approach indicated that the gunshot which “resulted in the tragic death of Mr. Wright” was a ” accidental gunshot ”.
“I’m not the head of the officer,” Gannon said. “I can only see what you see [o vídeo que registrou a abordagem]. I can combine that with a lot of the training I got and that’s why I think it’s accidental shooting. “
Hennepin County medical examiners, of which the Brooklyn Center is a member, classified Wright’s death as a homicide, confirming from autopsy results that the cause of death was a gunshot wound to the chest.
“My heart is shattered into a thousand pieces. I miss him so much, and it’s only been a day,” Wright’s mother Katie said at a vigil in honor of the young man, the father of a two year old boy. . “It was my life, it was my son and I will never be able to get him back. Because of some mistake? Because of an accident?”
Taser have different grips and are lighter than firearms. In many cases, they’re produced in bright colors, usually yellow, but they can also be black – like those used by the Brooklyn Center Police.
The City Department’s driving manual advises officers to store pistols and firearms on different sides of the holster. The rule is that the gun is on the dominant side of the policeman and the taser on the opposite side. So a right handed officer, for example, has his gun on the right side of his body and taser it on the left side, so he would need to fold his arm to wield the stun gun.
Pete Orput, the Washington County district attorney responsible for the case, said he was waiting for the BCA report to formalize a criminal charge later this Tuesday or Wednesday.
Wright’s death also added to tension in Minnesota, which had previously recorded protests related to the trial of Chauvin, the policeman who appears with his knee on Floyd’s neck in the approach that led to his death.
The hearings, which began on March 29, followed the expected course: moved witnesses, doctors explaining the details of the death and lawyers and prosecutors presenting their case to the jury.
The main thesis of the prosecution against the former cop is that the footage of Floyd’s death leaves no doubt that the act was murder, while the defense claims the victim may have died from other issues. , including heart problems or an overdose.
Chauvin’s defense even asked the judge to anticipate the jurors’ isolation phase so that they would not be swayed by the repercussions of Wright’s death, but the request was denied.