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Daunte Wright Killed by Minnesota Police After Being Pulled Over for Air Freshener

A cop in a Twin Cities suburb shot and killed 20-year-old Daunte Wright on Sunday, setting off protests and the subsequent deployment of the Minnesota National Guard during the emotional trial of former cop Derek Chauvin, who killed George Floyd last year.

Officials have not released the name of the man killed by police, but his mother, Kate Wright, identified the victim as her son. Daunte Wright had a young son, Daunte Jr.

On Sunday afternoon, police in Brooklyn Center pulled Wright over, and Kate Wright told media that he called her as the stop was happening, and told her it was because air fresheners were hanging from his rearview mirror. Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said the stop was for a traffic violation, according to the New York Times. 

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Gannon said the officer who stopped Wright tried to detain him after finding out he had a warrant out for his arrest. The officer reportedly shot Wright as he was getting back into his car as police were trying to detain him, according to the Times; the car then continued to travel multiple blocks before hitting another car. Police said a woman who was with Wright was injured in the accident but no one in the other car was hurt; Wright’s girlfriend was in the car at the time of the stop, his mother said.

The name of the officer who shot Wright has not been released. Minnesota public safety Commissioner John Harrington said the police department has body cameras. The Brooklyn Center Police Department did not immediately respond to a request from VICE News for comment. 

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Protesters gathered near the police headquarters in Brooklyn Center, where the shooting ignited a wave of unrest. The suburb is less than 15 minutes’ drive from the Hennepin County Government Building in Minneapolis, where Chauvin’s murder trial in the death of George Floyd is ongoing. The trial resumes Monday morning.

On Sunday night, Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott issued a curfew through 6 a.m. local time this morning. 

Police reportedly fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters, and the unrest near the police precinct lasted into Sunday night. 

The chemical agents reportedly reached the apartment buildings across the street. “We had to shut the doors because it was all in my house,” Tasha Nethercutt, a resident of one of the apartments, told the Times. 

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A Walmart and a nearby shopping mall were looted, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Gov. Tim Walz activated the Minnesota National Guard and the Minnesota State Patrol, and the Guard arrived shortly before midnight, according to the Star-Tribune. 

Walz said in a tweet that he and his wife are “praying for Daunte Wright’s family as our state mourns another life of a Black man taken by law enforcement.”

“I know my son. He was scared. He still [had] the mind of a 17-year-old because we babied him,” Daunte Wright’s father, Aubrey Wright, told the Washington Post. “If he was resisting an arrest, you could Tase him. I don’t understand it.”

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