Following Daunte Wright’s shooting death, a look at Minnesota’s long history of officer-involved killings

Officers stand guard outside Brooklyn Center Police Department, with trash thrown at them by demonstrators, after police allegedly shot and killed Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, U.S., April 11, 2021. Photo by REUTERS/Nick Pfosi

Protestors took to the streets on Sunday night in Brooklyn Center, a suburb of Minneapolis, after another police killing of a Black person. Daunte Wright, 20, was shot in what police officials say may have been an accident.

Brooklyn Center Chief of Police Tim Gannon said, “It is my belief that the officer had the intention to deploy their taser, but instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet. This appears to me, from what I viewed and the officer’s reaction in distress immediately after, that this was an accidental discharge that resulted in the tragic death of Mr. Wright.”

In the aftermath of the shooting, people damaged and looted some businesses, and police fired tear gas. 

Meanwhile, the third week of testimony began today in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer accused of killing George Floyd, an unarmed Black motorist.

KCRW looks at the context surrounding both the Chauvin trial and this latest shooting. More than 200 police-involved deaths have occurred in the state of Minnesota since 2000, with few convictions of cops in those cases. The only officer who was ever convicted of murder in the city of Minneapolis is Black — he shot a white woman in 2017. 

Credits

Guest:

  • Keith Mayes - professor of history and African American Studies at the University of Minnesota