By Evie Fordham
Minnesota Republicans slammed Gov. Tim Walz, a Democrat, for seeming to condemn law enforcement for the death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright before the authorities finish their investigation.
"I am closely monitoring the situation in Brooklyn Center. Gwen and I are praying for Daunte Wright’s family as our state mourns another life of a Black man taken by law enforcement," Walz wrote on Twitter on Sunday night.
The Minnesota GOP accused Walz of "perpetuating a narrative of an unknown situation."
"A Governor's responsibility is minimize turmoil, not fan the flames in challenging times," the Minnesota GOP said in a statement to Fox News. "We pray for the family and friends of Daunte Wright, and hope for a expediency in the investigation process. For a Governor to lead by casting blame and perpetuating a narrative of an unknown situation is not only irresponsible, it's conduct unbecoming a Governor. We call on Governor Tim Walz to censure himself if he is not able to practice the discipline needed to lead our state in a way that helps us move forward together."
"Governor, your words fuel fire for protesters. You of all people should know to wait until the [Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension] finish their investigation. In your tweet, you should have stopped after the words, 'praying for Duante [sic] Wright’s family.' Everything after that was inappropriate," Saint Paul Republicans wrote on Twitter.
Minneapolis erupted in looting and riots late Sunday after Wright was shot by a law enforcement officer during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minn., just 10 miles from where Derek Chauvin had George Floyd pinned to the pavement last May.
Brooklyn Center Police did not immediately identify Wright or disclose his race. In a statement, Brooklyn Center Police said that officers stopped an individual shortly before 2 p.m. Sunday. After determining the driver had an outstanding warrant, police tried to arrest him. But the driver reentered the vehicle and drove away, police said. An officer fired at the vehicle, striking the driver. Police said the vehicle traveled several blocks before crashing into another vehicle. A female passenger sustained nonlife-threatening injuries.
"Our entire community is filled with grief following today’s officer-involved shooting of Daunte Wright, a 20 year old young man. Our hearts are with his family, and with all those in our community impacted by this tragedy," Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott said on Monday. "While we await additional information from the BCA [Bureau of Criminal Apprehension] who is leading the investigation, we continue to ask that members of our community gathering do so peacefully, amid our calls for transparency and accountability."
Tensions are high in the region as the trial for Chauvin, the former Minneapolis officer charged in Floyd’s death, continues into its third week on Monday in Minneapolis. Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said more National Guard members would be deployed around the city of Minneapolis and in Brooklyn Center.
Katie Wright, Daunte Wright's mother, huddled with loved ones near the scene of the shooting in the 6300 block of Orchard Avenue in Brooklyn Center and pleaded for her son's body to be removed from the street, the Star Tribune reported.
She said her son had called her when he was getting pulled over, and she heard scuffling before the call ended. When she called back, she said his girlfriend told her Daunte Wright had been shot.
Carolyn Hanson lives near the crash scene and told the newspaper that she saw officers pull the man out of the car and perform CPR. Hanson said a passenger who got out was covered in blood.
The Brooklyn Center Police Department said it asked the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to investigate. Brooklyn Center officers wear body-worn cameras, and dash cameras are believed to have been activated during the incident, police said.
Fox News' inquiry to Walz's office was not returned at the time of publication.
Fox News' Danielle Wallace and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
Author: Evie Fordham