Daunte Wright, 20, was killed Sunday in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center after he was pulled over for what police said was a traffic violation. Officers then tried to arrest Wright for an outstanding warrant before a struggle ensued and he was shot when he got back in his car. Wright managed to drive away but struck another vehicle several blocks away, and he was pronounced dead at the scene after medical personnel attempted lifesaving measures.
News of Wright’s death led to protests Sunday evening at the Brooklyn Center Police Department headquarters, and there were clashes with police and incidents of looting. The region has been gripped by the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, charged with the murder of George Floyd, whose death last year sparked a wave of protests nationwide and reckonings with the country’s history of racial oppression.
Twins President Dave St. Peter tweeted about an hour after his team’s game against the Red Sox was postponed. “Based on the events of the past 24 hours and as information has started to come to light, playing a baseball game today felt a little less important,” he wrote. “When you add a level of public safety to that, particularly the safety for fans, our players, our staff, again we [thought] the decision we made today was the right call. History will maybe tell us otherwise. But today, this moment, we’re pretty confident we’re doing the right thing.”
The Twins statement struck a similar tone.
“Out of respect for the tragic events that occurred yesterday in Brooklyn Center, and following the additional details in this evolving situation, the Minnesota Twins have decided it is in the best interests of our fans, staff, players and community to not play today’s game,” the team announced Monday. “The decision was made by the Minnesota Twins after consultation with Major League Baseball, and local and state officials. … The Minnesota Twins organization extends its sympathies to the family of Daunte Wright.”
A former player for the Twins, Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks, decided to sit out New York’s game Monday with the Toronto Blue Jays because he was “having a tough time” with the news out of Minneapolis, said Yankees Manager Aaron Boone.
"The situation is heartbreaking right now in Minneapolis, and it’s hit him particularly hard. … Aaron is hurting in a huge way,” Boone said of Hicks, who was a first-round pick by the Twins in 2008 and spent three years with the major league club before getting traded to the Yankees prior to the 2016 season. Last year, as teams were resuming play amid the coronavirus pandemic and widespread Black Lives Matter demonstrations, Hicks and teammate Giancarlo Stanton were the only the members of their team who took a knee before a game in Washington.
In a statement Monday, the Timberwolves said, “Yesterday’s tragic event, involving the life of Daunte Wright, once again leaves our community mourning. After consultation with the League, and local and state officials, we believe postponing tonight’s game versus the Brooklyn Nets is the best decision.” The Timberwolves added that both they and the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx were extending their “sincere sympathies” to Wright’s family.
The NHL extended “sincere condolences” to Wright’s family and friends and stated that its decision to postpone the Wild-Blues game was “made out of respect for the community, following the tragic shooting.”
Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said Monday that the officer who shot Wright meant to use her Taser weapon but instead made an “accidental discharge” from her gun. He shared body-cam video of the incident in which the officer can be heard yelling at Wright, “I’ll Tase you! I’ll Tase you! Taser! Taser! Taser!”
After firing her gun, the officer says, “Holy s---, I shot him.”
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) said at a news conference Monday afternoon that he would be implementing curfews from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. for three Minneapolis-area counties, with another subsequently joining. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter also announced curfews for their cities.
At the White House on Monday, President Biden said he had spoken with Walz and Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott, as well as with other authorities in the area.
“I haven’t called Daunte Wright’s family, but our prayers are with their family,” he said. “It is really a tragic thing that happened.”
Biden said he wanted to “wait and see what the investigation shows” and described the body-cam footage as “fairly graphic.” He also declared that while there was “no justification for looting, no justification for violence,” peaceful protests were “understandable.”
In August, after a police shooting of a Black man in Kenosha, Wis., several sports teams and leagues paused play, including the NBA, which was in the midst of its playoffs at the time. Those reactions began with an impromptu protest by members of the Milwaukee Bucks, who refused to take the court for a postseason game against the Orlando Magic.
Reading a statement on behalf of his teammates, George Hill, then with the Bucks, said at the time that NBA players are “expected to play at a high level, give maximum effort and hold each other accountable,” and that they were “demanding the same from lawmakers and law enforcement.”
Following news of Wright’s shooting, a number of NBA players shared their reactions, including Tyus Jones of the Memphis Grizzlies, who tweeted: “Praying for Daunte Wrights family! Another life taken from his family and loved ones [shaking my head] … wow.”
“Prayers up to Daunte Wrights family,” tweeted the San Antonio Spurs’ Devin Vassell. “Something got to give.”
“I think we have to stop saying it’s frustrating for all Black Americans,” Philadelphia 76ers Coach Doc Rivers said before a game at the Dallas Mavericks. “I think we should be frustrated for all Americans. I don’t know if it was a mistake or not. I saw the body-cam video like everyone else, but I know that frustration is a real thing for everybody and for us.”
“We keep making mistakes by killing Black people,” added the 59-year-old coach. “I don’t want to get into race, but it’s there. I think we all have weaknesses, and we all need to confront them and find out how we can make this place a better world and a better country.”