Minneapolis police shot and killed a man they say opened fire on officers Wednesday night during a traffic stop — the first police-involved shooting in the city since the death of George Floyd on May 25.
In a press conference Wednesday night, Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said that officers who handle search warrants and drug investigations pulled the driver over because they believed he committed a crime, but Arradondo said he did not know specifics about what the alleged crime was.
Police said the man fired first and that they will release body camera footage of the incident on Thursday. No officers were reported injured. They did not reveal the race or identity of the man, who was pronounced dead at the scene, or of the officers involved in the shooting. A woman was also in the car with the man during the shooting, but she was not injured.
The Star Tribute reported that according to emergency dispatch audio, an officer radioed in immediately after the shooting and said, “We have two people inside the vehicle, one male is down, we still have one female in the car with her hands up.”
A crowd of protesters gathered on Wednesday night after the shooting. Police Chief Arradondo asked protesters to remain peaceful, saying Minneapolis police would respect their right to demonstrate as the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension takes over the investigation, but that “we cannot allow for destructive criminal behavior.”
“As chief, I recognize the trauma that our city has been under, and we want to do everything we can to maintain the peace,” Arradondo said. “Our city has gone through too much. We need to keep our officers safe, we need to keep our community safe, and I tell you, we need to preserve that crime scene.”
According to the Star Tribune, protesters built bonfires in the street to stay warm, threw snowballs at police, and the scene “at times grew tense,” but mostly remained peaceful. Protesters dispersed around 1 a.m. when temperatures dropped below ten degrees.
After Floyd was killed in May, Black Lives Matter protests happened in cities and towns all across the country. Protests in Minneapolis specifically turned violent with police firing tear gas and rubber bullets as some protesters rioted and looted stores. One man was shot and killed outside of a pawn shop.
“Events of this past year have marked some of the darkest days in our city. We know a life has been cut short and that trust between communities of color and law enforcement is fragile. Rebuilding that trust will depend on complete transparency,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said in a statement. “We must all be committed to getting the facts, pursuing justice, and keeping the peace.”