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The aunt of Daunte Wright was among the hundreds of protesters who clashed with law-enforcement near Minneapolis after police fatally shot her nephew during a traffic stop on Sunday afternoon.
Kelly Bryant, Wright’s aunt on his mother’s side, told Insider she was at the protest with her daughter and best friend.
Police tear-gassed the trio, Bryant said in an interview.
“I was down there the night that Daunte got shot,” she said. “I have never seen anything like that in my life. I was tear-gassed. It was not a pretty sight. I was watching people loot and break windows, stealing stuff out of stores, burning stuff. It was bad. It was really bad.”
Bryant said people threw garbage at the police. She described her reaction to being tear-gassed.
“It was very scary. I couldn’t see anything. I didn’t know where I was running. I didn’t know if I’d get stampeded,” she said.”There were hundreds of people. It was not an ideal situation to be in.”
She and her daughter and best friend escaped the scene by running to their car, where they stayed until they were able to see, she said, adding: “People were running around with gallons of milk, dumping it on people’s faces.”
Protests erupted in response to the shooting of Daunte Wright, 20-year-old Black man. He and his girlfriend, Chyna, were driving in a car when police stopped them in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. An officer fatally shot Wright during the traffic stop, authorities said.
Wright’s mother, Katie Wright, said her son had been pulled over for displaying an air freshener on his rearview mirror.
On Monday, Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon announced Wright’s death was accidental, saying police officer Kimberly Potter meant to deploy her Taser, but mistakenly pulled her gun instead.
Potter, a senior-level officer with 26 years of experience, was on administrative leave while the shooting investigation is underway, but she has since resigned.
Vigils in honor of Wright have spread all over the United States — as have demonstrations calling for an end to police violence.
But in the Minneapolis area, tensions were especially high. Local officials have deployed the National Guard amid ongoing unrest there.
Wright died just miles away from the courthouse where former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is on trial, charged with murder in the death of George Floyd. Floyd’s death in May was a driving force behind renewed Black Lives Matter protests that swept the nation.
The culmination of these events has caused grieving on multiple levels within this community, said Dr. Robert Sanders, associate professor and chair of national security at the University of New Haven.
“The community is trying to heal from George Floyd’s death by way of the trial, where the facts are coming out and they’re having to process it but they’re being traumatized at the same time,” Sanders said in an interview with Insider.
“So to have this other event occur in the midst of that is more is a devastating blow on a community that’s trying to recover from feeling itself to be under attack by law enforcement, which is sworn to protect them.”
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