“Not again”: Residents are shocked by the murder of police officer Daunte Wright
In broad daylight Humboldt Avenue does not look like the chaotic battlefield that becomes after dark.
Cars and trucks start on the wide suburban highway in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. There are apartments, a church and an institute. And the police station.
The police station, now separated by chain fences from the avenue, has been the focus of the protests five nights and counting after an officer killed a black man last Sunday – for killing another black officer who is being tried 13 miles north.
The death of Daunte Wright, 20, is now set to be handed down by Minneapolis Judgment of Derek Chauvin accused of killing George Floyd last May. Floyd’s death sparked protests for racial justice around the world.
“When I saw and heard it, I said‘ no again, ’” said Annette Combs, who works next to Humboldt, about her reaction when she learned of Wright’s death.
After dark, the avenues are illuminated by lights. National Guard jeeps and armored vehicles enter from the south. There are flash blows, tear gas and rubber bullets in the cacophony of law enforcement and protesters ’fireworks. Police have arrested dozens for violating a local eviction set by the council.
Pastor Simeon Momanyi has been in the middle, with his house located between his church, the Seventh-day Adventist Community of Kenya and the police house. The last few days have been tough for him and his flock.
“When George Floyd was killed, it was traumatic for a lot of people,” he said. “It’s been a year, and people are almost starting to get over it. There were many demonstrations. [You think] when police interact with blacks, people of color, they will be careful. And then all of a sudden, again. Same city, same place. Something happened again. “
The Brooklyn Center, north of Minneapolis, is a diverse and middle-class population of 31,000 with a large number of immigrants. African food shops and restaurants have shopping lists. The median household income is $ 60,000, and many residents work in manufacturing.
63rd Avenue and Kathrene Drive, from the block where Wright was shot, are modest one-story homes with sidewalks. Pain has built a shrine there: a huge fist that echoes George Floyd Square in Minneapolis. It is surrounded by roses, lilies, daffodils and Gerberas daisies. Electric light teas say “DAUNTE”.
“This is crazy, man,” one man said Thursday afternoon. “A young king is growing up.”
Max Madyun and Daniel Retic, students at Brooklyn Center High School, are a few years younger than Wright. On Thursday they protested with their classmates on the school’s athletics fields across the street from the police house. Young black men have both learned to change their behavior around the police by moving slowly and answering all questions.
“It sucks, but we want to live our lives,” Retic said.
“It’s like nature: I see a policeman, I have to do that,” Madyun added. “But then you see things like,‘ I shouldn’t do that. This is not normal. “
In recent days, Humboldt’s “normal” set has been put together by the sun. Five yellow ServiceMaster vans were parked to clear the fire and water damage outside a Dollar Tree that was set on fire Monday night.
Alhagie Njie runs her family’s grocery store, Value Foods African Market, a few doors down the same mall. He was worried that the fire would spread to their building.
Hakeem Miller lives in an apartment next to the mall and police live across the street from home. He said he threw the furniture against the windows to keep the four children safe.
“It’s been chaos,” he said. “My children, they’re wondering if we’re going to die.”
On Tuesday night, the temperature was below freezing, and police were holding sticks. The Minnesota State Patrol began searching north of Humboldt, indicating through a loudspeaker that protesters were violating the protocol cover and should be dispersed or arrested.
Breanna Eaglefather has lost close friends due to police violence. But as soon as he heard the news the reason came out to protest, he came out the next night and the next, the next, his 10-year-old son was rotating. He wants to protect her.
“I have a personal responsibility,” he said.