Minneapolis Police were involved in the death of a suspect for the first time since the death of George Floyd on May 25 sparked Black Lives Matter protests across the country.
Police chief Medaria Arradondo said a fatal shooting took place Wednesday night during a traffic stop involving a “suspect” less than a mile from where Floyd died.
“The first witness statements indicate that the suspect involved in this crime stop was the first to shoot,” Arradondo said. The officers “then exchanged gunfire with the suspect.”
The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene. No officer was injured and a female passenger was also unharmed, Arradondo said. He also said bodycam video of the incident would be released on Thursday.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Arrest is investigating, he said.
Protesters gathered at the site within hours of the shooting, and Arradondo said he had contacted community and religious leaders.
“We want to do all we can to protect everyone’s rights under the First Amendment, to assemble freely, to protest, but, again, we cannot allow destructive criminal behavior. Our city has suffered too much.
Mayor Jacob Frey released a statement saying he was working closely with Chief Arradondo to gather all the facts of the shooting and promised that the information would be released to the community as quickly as possible.
“The events of the past year have marked some of the darkest days in our city,” Frey said. “We know that a life has been cut short tonight and that trust between communities of color and law enforcement is fragile. Rebuilding that trust will depend on full transparency.”
Floyd was a black man who died after a white Minneapolis policeman, Derek Chauvin, pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes as Floyd said he couldn’t breathe.
The confrontation, filmed, drew months of angry and sometimes violent protests demanding racial justice and police reform. “Police Defund” has become a recurring war cry.
Chauvin faces charges of unintentional murder and second degree manslaughter. Three officers who were also present when Floyd died in May – J. Alexander Kueng, Tou Thao and Thomas Lane – are accused of aiding and abetting second degree murder and manslaughter.
All were fired from the Minneapolis Police Department. They are programmed for stand trial together in march in Hennepin County, Minnesota.
Contributor: Wyatte Grantham-Philips