At a time when law enforcement officials and residents of Minnesota are gearing up for what could be a new and explosive round of protests depending on the outcome of the trial involving Derek Chauvin, the former police officer accused of killing George Floyd, another deadly incident erupted on Sunday night.
According to the New York Post, violent protests broke out Sunday evening in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, which is in the Twin Cities area of the state, over the officer-involved shooting death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright. Looting, destruction, and violence exploded to a level that prompted officials to call in the National Guard.
Though a number of misleading or outright false stories about Wright’s death dominated social media on Sunday and likely contributed to the anger that sparked the deadly riots, law enforcement officials say that Wright was pulled over on Sunday afternoon for a traffic violation.
The situation escalated quickly as police reported that Wright, who had an outstanding warrant out for his arrest, was shot by a Brooklyn Center police officer after he jumped back into his vehicle attempted to speed away. Wright managed to drive for several blocks before crashing and ultimately succumbing to his gunshot wounds.
Crowds quickly surrounded the scene where the shooting took place as Wright’s mother and family members made an appearance. Soon, many members of the impromptu protest turned increasingly hostile and ultimately violent.
As some protesters wielded Black Lives Matter and Georg Floyd signs, some of the angry mob members began chucking rocks, bottles, and other projectiles at riot gear-clad police officers, turning a tense situation into one that resulted in injuries and destruction.
Police officers fought back, firing countless tear gas and smoke canisters to disperse the crowd, along with various non-lethal munitions to prevent the situation from escalating, although later reports emerged that someone in the crowd fired live rounds into the police station, reaching as far as the lobby.
Looting for justice?
As is typical of riots involving officer-involved shootings, those who weren’t at the actual protest scene took a different course of action, which included smashing the windows of dozens of local businesses and helping themselves to free stuff, including pizza, shoes, and electronics.
On Monday, social media was flooded with first-hand videos clearly revealing hundreds of looters stealing merchandise from a wide variety of local businesses and speeding off in waiting vehicles.
They’re looting in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota at this moment. Because, you know, justice and stuff like that.pic.twitter.com/GvcEx87f98
— First Words (@unscriptedmike) April 12, 2021
It wasn’t until nearly midnight after a bulk of the violence and looting occurred that officials made the call to bring in the National Guard to prevent further escalation or destruction in the area. The Star Tribune reported that additional troops would be arriving on Monday in case the violence reignites throughout the week.
This surprise event was the last thing that a city on edge needed, possibly days or a few short weeks before a verdict in the Chauvin trial is announced. Residents and business owners in the area should brace for the absolute worst, at this point in time.