Protests erupt in US after police shoot 20-year-old African American at traffic stop

The police officer has been placed on administrative leave.

Matthias Ang | April 13, 2021, 03:49 PM

A police officer shot a 20-year-old unarmed African American, Daunte Wright, in the U.S. city of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, during a traffic stop, both CNN and BBC reported.

According to Reuters, Wright had been pulled over for an expired vehicle registration.

There were also Protests in response to the incident, with with crowds first gathering at the site of the incident, tearing down crime tape at the scene and later gathering outside the Brooklyn Police Center Department.

Gas and flash bangs were deployed by the police to clear the protesters while a curfew has been imposed from 7pm to 6am.

What happened at the traffic stop?

According to the city's police chief, Tim Gannon, the officer, Kim Potter, had intended to use her Taser but grabbed her gun instead and shot Wright, in what appeared to be an unintentional "accidental discharge", CBS News further reported.

Video footage released by the police showed Wright stepping out of the car whereupon the police attempted to handcuff him.

Wright then broke free and got back into his car. At this point, Potter, can be heard yelling "I'll tase you" twice, while withdrawing her handgun. She then shouts "Taser, taser, taser," before firing a single shot.

Afterwards, she can be heard saying, "Holy s***t, I shot him," while the car rolls away with Wright still in the driver's seat.

The car eventually stopped when it crashed into another vehicle several block down.

Wright's cause of death was ruled as a gunshot wound to the chest and a homicide by the Hennepin County medical examiner.

[Warning: Video contains images that some viewers may find distressing]

Potter placed on administrative leave

The officer who shot Wright has since been placed on administrative leave.

On Apr. 12, members of Wright's family said at the funeral that they rejected the given reason of an "accidental discharge" as the cause for his death.

His older half-sibling, Dallas Wright, was quoted by Reuters as saying that he had been shot because the police were "trigger happy."

His mother added:

“My heart is broken in a thousand pieces. I miss him so much, and it’s only been a day. He was my life, he was my son and I can never get that back. Because of a mistake? Because of an accident?”

Wright was also remembered by relatives as a "good-natured father" who had been working in several jobs to support his two-year-old son.

Meanwhile, the governor of Minnesota, Tim Walz, said that he was "closely monitoring the situation", and that he was praying for Wright's family.

He tweeted "the state mourns another life of a Black man taken by law enforcement."

Tensions are high as shooting happened near site of George Floyd incident

CNN highlighted that tensions are also running high over the shooting of Wright as it happened about 10 miles (16km) away from the May 2020 George Floyd incident.

In addition, the trial of the officer charged in Floyd's death, Derek Chauvin, has also been ongoing for about two weeks.

BBC further reported that law enforcement officers are expecting more unrest once a verdict is announced for the trial.

The Minnesota National Guard, who had originally been activated for the trial as it reaches the stage of closing arguments, said that it will increase the number of members on duty in response to events at Brooklyn Center.

Thus far, over 500 personnel have been activated.

Top screenshots from Reuters YouTube