Biden Urges Calm After Officer Kills Black Man in Minnesota
Biden told reporters in the Oval Office he had spoken to Governor Tim Walz of Minnesota and expected a “full-blown investigation” into the death of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, a suburb of Minneapolis. The shooting touched off a new round of violent protests over excessive force, with police reporting break-ins affecting about 20 businesses at a nearby shopping center.
Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said Monday that body camera footage indicated an officer attempting to apprehend Wright on an outstanding warrant accidentally shot him with a gun instead of a Taser.
Wright’s killing came as Derek Chauvin, a White police officer charged in the killing last year of George Floyd, a Black man, stands trial in nearby Minneapolis. Footage of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck prompted nationwide protests last summer, and Biden said that because of that case the federal government had already deployed resources to the area to deal with “anything that happens.”
“There is absolutely no justification, none, for looting. No justification for violence,” Biden said. “Peaceful protest? Understandable. And the fact is that, you know, we do know the anger, pain and trauma that exists in the Black community, in that environment, is real, it’s serious and it’s consequential. But it does not justify violence.”
Biden said that despite those preparations, he hopes that the Chauvin trial would yield “an outcome that will be supported by the vast majority of people in the region.” He also said he expected the investigation into Wright’s death would determine if the killing was accidental or intentional.
Minnesota’s pro baseball, basketball and hockey teams postponed Monday home games because of the shooting. The mayor of Minneapolis, Jacob Frey, ordered a curfew from 7 p.m. Monday to 6 a.m. Tuesday.
Earlier Monday, the White House said it was abandoning plans for a police oversight commission after determining it would be more effective to focus on passing legislation that would ban the use of choke-holds and so-called no-knock home entry.
“We have been in very close contact over the course of several months, back to the transition, with both civil rights activists, with law enforcement authorities and the law enforcement community, about what would be most effective moving forward,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, adding legislation would enable “the necessary reforms that we would all like to see in place.”