'Daunte, Don't Run': Mom Describes Phone Call With Son Before Brooklyn Center Shooting

One of the last things Katie Wright, the mother of Daunte Wright, who was fatally shot by police in Minnesota on Sunday, heard during a phone call before the shooting was "Daunte, don't run."

Daunte, a 20-year-old Black man, was fatally shot during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, just 11 miles from where George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, died while under arrest by Minneapolis police last May. Daunte's death prompted a wave of protests and a night of unrest, causing Governor Tim Walz to activate the National Guard.

Katie told reporters on Sunday that her son called her when he was being pulled over by Brooklyn Center police. During the call, she said, she heard police tell Daunte to put the phone down and get out of the car, adding that they would explain once he got out.

"I heard scuffling, and I heard the police officer say, 'Daunte, don't run,'" Katie said. "And then a minute or two later, I called and his girlfriend answered, which was the passenger in the car, and she said he'd been shot."

Daunte told his mother he was being pulled over for air fresheners he had hanging from the mirrors, according to KARE-TV reporter Chris Hrapsky, and called to get insurance information from her. The car was reportedly hers, but she had given it to her son weeks before.

daunte wright don't run mother mineapolis brooklyn
Daunte Wright's mother, Katie, joins people protesting after her son was shot and killed by Brooklyn Center Police on Sunday in Minnesota. Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

In a statement, the Brooklyn Center Police Department said officers determined the vehicle's driver had an outstanding warrant after they initiated a stop for a traffic violation. Daunte was arrested in February on a charge of aggravated robbery, according to The Daily Beast.

Police Chief Tim Gannon said that when officers tried to take the driver into custody, he reentered the vehicle, at which point, an officer discharged a firearm at him. The vehicle then traveled several blocks before hitting another vehicle and coming to a stop.

Witnesses saw officers try to perform CPR on Daunte, but the police department said that live-saving measures were in vain and that the 20-year-old died at the scene. A female passenger, whom Katie identified as his girlfriend, was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries she suffered during the crash.

The police department said it asked the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) to conduct an independent investigation of the incident. They department said it believes both the body-worn cameras and dashboard cameras were activated at the time.

Newsweek reached out to the Brooklyn Center Police Department for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

"Our hearts are with his family, and with all those in our community impacted by this tragedy," Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott tweeted. "While we await additional information from the BCA, 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."

Despite pleas for calm from officials and Daunte's family, protests broke out Sunday, and by the evening officers had fired rounds of tear gas, rubber bullets and flash-bangs in an attempt to break up the crowd. The National Guard was activated and tried to secure a looted Walmart store, and Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said the Guard's presence would be "robust" for the next few days.

Protests spread into Minneapolis, where former city police officer Derek Chauvin is being tried for Floyd's death, the first of four officers who have been charged. His attorney, Eric Nelson, asked the judge to sequester the jury because Sunday's shooting could hinder their ability to be impartial, but the judge denied the motion.

Floyd's family called for calm after his death, and Katie Wright made a similar plea. Floyd's death sparked months of protests nationwide, and her message did little to temper the unrest the city saw on Sunday night.

"All the violence, if it keeps going it's only going to be about the violence. We need it to be about why my son got shot for no reason. We need to make sure it's about him and not about smashing police cars, because that's not going to bring my son back," she told The Daily Beast.

The American Civil Liberties Union is calling for the release of all body-camera footage in the incident to be released, as well as the names of the officers involved.