Spontaneous protests at scene less than a mile from where George Floyd died in May
Guardian staff and agencies
Wed 30 Dec 2020 23.34 EST
Police in Minneapolis shot and killed a man in an exchange of gunfire during a traffic stop on the city’s south side on Wednesday night, authorities have said.
John Elder, a police spokesman, said the incident happened about 6.15pm while officers were carrying out a traffic stop with a man suspected of a felony.
Elder said the man was pronounced dead at the scene by medical personnel. A woman in the car was unhurt, Elder said. He declined to say whether police recovered a gun at the scene.
Elder said no officers were hurt. He said he did not know how many officers carried out the traffic stop. The officers’ body cameras were on.
Police chief Medaria Arradondo said witnesses said the man fired first. He promised to release the video from the police body cameras on Thursday.
“I want our communities to see that so they can see for themselves,” he said. Until then, Arradondo said, “Please allow me, the (state) investigators, allow us the time, let us get the evidence, get the facts, so we can process this.”
The state’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension was called in to handle the investigation.
The shooting happened less than a mile from the street corner where George Floyd died in May after a Minneapolis officer pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for minutes, even as Floyd pleaded that he couldn’t breathe. It sparked sometimes violent protest that spread around the country and turned Black Lives Matter into an international cause.
In the aftermath of the shooting on Wednesday night, videos posted on social media by a Star Tribune reporter showed a crowd of protesters chanting at police and officers in riot gear.
Mayor Jacob Frey said in a statement late on Wednesday he was working with Arradondo for information on the shooting and pledged to get it out as quickly as possible in coordination with the state investigation.
“Events of this past year have marked some of the darkest days in our city,” Frey said. “We know a life has been cut short and that trust between communities of color and law enforcement is fragile … We must all be committed to getting the facts, pursuing justice, and keeping the peace.”
In Minneapolis, Floyd’s death led to a push for radical change in the police department, long criticized by activists for what they called a brutal culture that resisted change. A push by some city council members to replace the department with a new public safety unit failed this summer.
Frey and Arradondo, who opposed doing away with the department, have offered several policy changes since Floyd’s death, including limiting the use of so-called no-knock warrants, revising use-of-force policies and requiring officers to report on their attempts to calm situations.
All four officers involved in Floyd’s death were fired and quickly charged in his death. They are scheduled for trial in March.
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