Written by Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs
A Minneapolis police officer shot and killed a man during a traffic stop Wednesday evening, the first killing by a member of the department since George Floyd’s death in May, a police spokesman said.
At least one officer shot the man during an exchange of gunfire after the police pulled the man over about a mile from where Floyd was killed, said John Elder, the spokesman.
Floyd’s death led to charges against four officers — including one facing a second-degree murder charge — and large, sustained protests across the United States after a video showed that an officer had kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes.
Many details about the shooting Wednesday were not immediately clear. Elder said that the police had pulled a driver over because he was wanted for a crime, although Elder said he did not know what the crime was. The driver, who was not immediately identified, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Elder said that at least one officer was wearing a body camera and that it was activated during the gunfight.
No officers were injured, he said, and an adult woman in the passenger seat of the man’s car was also uninjured. He did not know how many officers had been at the scene or whether more than one had fired their weapons, nor did he know the race of anybody involved.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, a state agency, is leading the investigation into the police shooting.
Videos posted online by a reporter for The Star Tribune showed that people quickly descended on the scene, some of whom were shouting at the police.
In the wake of Floyd’s death on May 25 outside of the Cup Foods convenience store, demonstrators tore through the city, demanding that the officers be charged. Some people burned down a police station after officers retreated, and several businesses were set on fire; weeks later, the body of one man was found in a charred pawnshop.
The three Minneapolis officers who pinned Floyd to the pavement were soon fired, along with a fourth at the scene. Derek Chauvin, the former officer who held his knee on Floyd’s neck, was charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, and the other three were charged with aiding and abetting him. All have pleaded not guilty; a trial is set for March, but a motion from lawyers for some of the officers to delay the trial is pending.
In response to the police killings this year of Floyd and other Black people, including Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, and Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta, protests spread through the country, reaching coastal cities familiar with demonstrations, like Portland, Oregon, and New York, but also small towns throughout the Midwest and South.
Several cities responded by pursuing police reform and budget cuts. Minneapolis’s City Council voted this month to divert $8 million from the Police Department to other city services, about 4.5% of the department’s proposed budget, but many council members’ early promises to “end policing as we know it” have collapsed.