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Saturday, June 3, 2023

After shooting Black youth over traffic violation, US police fires rubber bullets at protestors

Police in Minneapolis, USA shot dead a young Black man on Sunday after stopping his vehicle for a ‘traffic violation’, having air fresheners dangling from his rear-view mirror. Daunte Wright (20) was shot dead just 10 miles from where another Black man George Floyd was killed during an arrest in Minneapolis last May, an event which triggered violent #BlackLivesMatter protests across America over alleged systemic police brutality against the minority Black population.

As per a news report

“Protests erupted against police when an officer fatally shot a young Black man after stopping his vehicle for a traffic violation on Sunday….As angry crowds swelled into the hundreds outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department building on Sunday night, officers in riot gear fired rubber bullets and lobbed flash bangs at protesters and let off clouds of chemical irritants.

…Minnesota Governor Tim Walz said in a statement that he was monitoring the unrest in Brooklyn Center, a suburb of Minneapolis, as “our state mourns another life of a Black man taken by law enforcement.

Anti-police protesters have already spent recent days rallying in Minneapolis as the trial of Derek Chauvin, a white former city policeman, enters the third week in a courthouse ringed with barriers and soldiers from the National Guard.

Chauvin is charged with murder and manslaughter for kneeling on the neck of Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man in handcuffs, during the deadly arrest last May, video of which sparked global protests against police brutality.

Wright’s mother, Katie Wright, told reporters at the scene that she received a call from her son on Sunday afternoon telling her that police had pulled him over for having air fresheners dangling from his rear-view mirror, illegal in Minnesota. She could hear police tell her son to get out the vehicle, she said.

“I heard scuffling, and I heard police officers say, ‘Daunte, don’t run,'” she said through tears. The call ended, and she dialed his number again, and his girlfriend answered and said he was now dead in the driver’s seat.”

Black African-Americans constitute 13.4% of the total population of USA, making them the second largest minority population after Hispanics/Latinos at 18.5%. Non-Hispanic Whites form the majority at 60%. Most Black Americans are descendants of Africans who were brought as slaves to work in US plantations from the 17th century onwards. While Blacks finally won equal legal rights to vote and public segregation ended in the 1960s, they still face severe social and economic challenges and allegations of police brutality are common.

George Floyd’s death had sparked waves of protests around Minneapolis, with millions of dollars worth of property being damaged. At least 19 people died in those protests last year all across America. There were numerous reports and videos of aggressive police actions using physical force including “batons, tear gas, pepper spray and rubber bullets on protesters, bystanders and journalists, often without warning or seemingly unprovoked.”

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