Apr 12, 2021
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz Press Conference on Fatal Police Shooting of Daunte Wright Transcript April 12
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz held a press conference on April 12, 2021 to address the fatal police shooting of Daunte Wright that took place in Brooklyn Center. Read the full transcript of the briefing here.
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Speaker 1: (00:01)
And followed by mayor Melvin Carter. Then we will have John Harrington, Commissioner of Public Safety, followed by Chief Medaria Arradondo, chief of the Minneapolis Police Department, followed by Sheriff David Hutchinson, Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office. Major General Shawn Manke, Minnesota National Guard Adjunct General. Colonel Matt Langer, Minnesota State Patrol Chief, and we are expecting Chief Tim Gannon, Chief, Brooklyn Center Police Department. Again, thank you for being here. We will be out shortly.
Tim Walz: (05:13)
Well, good afternoon Minnesota, and thank you for taking some time with us. Today, I’ll be joined by Minneapolis Mayor, Jacob Frey, and St. Paul Mayor, Melvin Carter. It goes without saying that it’s devastating and heartbreaking that we’re here once again, to address the death of a young black man with an interaction with police. As the world is watching during the trial of Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd, emotions and trauma are high in our state, as I think would be understood. And I think I’d just like to first express my personal sympathies to the Wright family on the death of Daunte Wright yesterday afternoon. I think there’s a lot of mothers out there that know that you shouldn’t be able to worry about your son dying, going to wash the car, and now we have another name added to Philando, Jamar, George and Daunte will now be added to that. So I express my deepest sympathies to the family, knowing that there’s absolutely nothing I can say that will make this better or take this back, but with an understanding there are things that we can do.
Tim Walz: (06:39)
The first is, we can simply acknowledge it doesn’t need to be this way. We don’t have to continue having these press conferences and having what may be a routine traffic stop, and a 20 year old dad, a family devastated, and a community on edge. And so some of the things that we can do, and we need to be very clear about is, this state, this community, and this nation needs to have a place to grieve and to express in many places, their anger, that this continues to go on, and their expectation that things need to be different and need to change. And so our commitment of making sure that those that are exercising their First Amendment rights and those that are asking, no, demanding, that changes, changes that are happening in other states like Maryland, we saw last week. Changes that are making a difference, changes that are reducing the chance of these types of things happening. We need to make sure that that space is available.
Tim Walz: (07:40)
And we also though, need to hold at the same time, that those that wish to do harm or destruction to property, or to put people at risk, it will not be tolerated. And we have known for many months that as this trial and the focus of this nation was on this trial, that there would be those that want to do both. Those that want to bring about change, those that want to express their constitutional rights. Those that are angry, heartbroken, sad, fed up, tired, all of the things that they have every reason to feel. But we also know, and we saw it again last night, those that would try and take advantage of this to create chaos or damage will not be tolerated.
Tim Walz: (08:21)
And the folks you’re going to hear from after the mayors speak are our public safety professionals. And that will include everybody from the State Patrol to our local police departments, to our county sheriffs, to our National Guard, and in this organization, to community leaders and to sociologists and psychologists and people who are out there to understand that there’s trauma in the community. And simply, sometimes having uniformed officers is enough to trigger people and to cause situations to escalate. And those things have been given consideration. So while I can’t provide any comfort to the Wright family, what I can tell this state and this nation is Minnesota is a place where we know that you can create space for grievances to be aired and First Amendment rights to be expressed, and you can stop people from creating crimes or doing destruction to property and to people.
Tim Walz: (09:15)
And the next thing that we can do is, we can stop pretending that this is just the natural order of the universe and things happen this way. I’m going to demand that the legislature finally hold some hearings on some of these reforms, as I said, that have passed in other states and have proven to make a difference. Things that are supported by both law enforcement and community members, things that we know that would reduce the chance of a routine traffic stop escalating into a loss of life. There are things that can be done. There are proposals that are out there. There’s proven remedies that can be put into place, but that will never happen if we don’t at least hold hearings on these things. If we don’t at least get ourselves into an uncomfortable position and do what this democracy is supposed to do and debate the hard things.
Tim Walz: (10:01)
So I’m calling on the legislature and I will be calling them later. If we have time to talk about other things, you can certainly find time on your calendar to put things in place that make sure we don’t have another Daunte Wright laying on the streets of Brooklyn Center or any community in this state or this country. So those are things that we can do. Those are things that shouldn’t be asking that much. Those are things that our communities demand of us. And I can tell you that angst and that trauma that people feel is exacerbated if they feel no one’s listening, or there’s no place to express it. So our commitment with this group of folks that’s here is to create a safe place for the community to have that conversation, to express what they want to see us change. And then an expectation that our lawful system and our democracy will at least have the common decency to have a discussion on this and to put things forward that we know will make a difference. Those are the things that we can do.
Tim Walz: (11:02)
I spoke not more than several weeks ago from the old high school I used to teach at in Mankato, a place that 60 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr spoke at. And that was at a time when he was also calling us. We can either come together and fix this, or we can suffer together as fools, and we can continue to make this happen. Our time was made clear last May in Minnesota, our time to get one shot at fixing it was there. And in the midst of this trial that’s the world’s watching, the situation repeated itself yesterday. So this is a call to us again, to Minnesota and to the rest of the nation. We have the ability to reduce the chance of this happening. We have the ability to put things into place to make a difference. And we have the ability to hold two things at the same time, the ability to create a space for peaceful protest and a no tolerance for those who wish to do harm or do destruction, those things can happen together.
Tim Walz: (12:03)
So I’m grateful for the folks who are here today. This has been many months in the making. There is a level of coordination amongst law enforcement agency and community never before seen in Minnesota, but I’m telling you, and you saw it yesterday, until we make the proactive change to do the things to prevent it, continuing to stand up organizations like we’ve done here, to put out the fire after it’s been lit, will simply not work. So we can do this together. We can create the peaceful space. We can let justice be held in the Chauvin trial, and we can come together and demand that those who are in elected positions and who can make a difference are willing to listen and willing to make those changes.
Tim Walz: (12:46)
So I want to, again, express my deepest condolences to the Wright family, but make that commitment that those things that we can do, we will do. With that, I’d like to introduce Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey.
Jacob Frey: (13:07)
Thank you governor, for your strong and necessary words and the partnership that we’ve had over these last eight months as we’ve prepared for this trial of Derek Chauvin. And I’m not going to stand up here and tell you that it’s okay when it’s not. I’m not going to stand here and tell you that we all, city, county, states, nation has made the necessary progress, when we undoubtedly have not. We have such a long way to go, and the cruel duality of mourning yet another officer involved shooting, while we’re simultaneously adjudicating at a trial, yet another officer involved killing is cruel. It is just that it is cruel. And what appears to be a careless and tragic mistake in a profession where you just can’t make careless and tragic mistakes has not only further eroded trust between law enforcement and the communities that they serve, that they are charged with serving, but has been even more injurious to our communities of color, to our BIPOC communities in Minneapolis.
Jacob Frey: (14:17)
And I recognize that the press conference that we saw earlier in Brooklyn Center is unthinkably disturbing. We recognize that the feeling and the sentiment in our city and in our region right now, especially for our Black and Brown communities is raw. And the anguish that we saw and witnessed, that was captured in Katie Wright’s voice after losing her son. It is so representative of the pain and anguish that our communities of color are suffering from each and every single day.
Jacob Frey: (14:55)
So for our Black communities in particular, I know the effects of the last 12 months have been just a torrential flood gate of all of the pain that have been felt, in many cases for hundreds and hundreds of years. And there’s no playbook for the rawness, for the emotion that that people throughout our city and our state are experiencing right now. And I’ll tell you, Mayor Elliott, Chief Arradondo, the governor, Mayor Carter and I, we are united that this anguish that we’re all suffering cannot translate into violence. The anguish we are suffering cannot translate into violence. Destroying livelihoods, destroying locally owned businesses that our communities have poured their hearts and soul into for decades, and the unraveling of the sacrifices that people have made for so long, that cannot, that will not be tolerated.
Jacob Frey: (16:03)
… so long that cannot, that will not be tolerated. We must see peace tonight. And as of this afternoon, I have declared a state of emergency in the city of Minneapolis. And we are following that up with a curfew that will begin at 7:00 PM tonight. It will go until 6:00 AM tomorrow morning. The curfew does include exemptions for credentialed individuals and organizations. That includes, of course, the press, law enforcement, emergency responders, those traveling to and from work and the following community patrol organizations that our Office of Violence Prevention has been working with for quite some time and has reduced to formal contract. A Mother’s Love, Center for Multicultural Mediation, Native American Community Development Institute, NACDI, Corcoran Neighborhood Organization, and Touch Outreach.
Jacob Frey: (16:57)
Change Equals Opportunity also known as CEO, Restoration Inc and We Push for Peace. So these groups will be patrolling in and around communities this evening. In addition, communities in and around major corridors will see an increased presence of both law enforcement and national guard and as the governor stated we have been preparing for this month now for quite some time. And so, the fact that we’re expediting the presence and moving into phase three just a bit faster, we need to do that and it’s necessary for the piece of our city and we also want to make sure that we are protecting first amendment rights as much as possible. We’re collectively resolved to doing better. We must do better as a region, as a city and as a State. And that will require all of us, all of us united in purpose, and then ultimately dedicated to the work ahead and with that, Mayor Carter.
Mayor Carter: (18:10)
Good afternoon. There’s almost an unlimited number of places I’d rather be than here talking about the loss of yet another unarmed African American man at the hands of law enforcement. Yesterday, our community, our Brooklyn Center community, our St. Paul community, our twin cities community, our American community, our world community experienced a trauma and a heartache that’s just too big for words. We lost a 20 year old young man as the ultimate result of a traffic stop. That should never happen once. It should never happen twice. It should never happen four times, or as many times as we’ve experienced this in America. It should never happen that many times in a State that prides ourselves on humanism. That prides ourselves on togetherness. That prides ourselves on the spirit of the late Senator Paul Wellstone who famously said, “We all do better when we all do better.” We are mourning Dante Wright and it comes at a hard time because we’re still mourning George Floyd. We’re still waiting for justice for George Floyd. We’re still mourning Philando Castille. We’re still mourning so many people in our city, in our State, in our community, in our country. We’re mourning so many people and we shouldn’t have to do that anymore. And so, we stand here today with a few truths that are all true at the same time, we don’t have to choose. It’s true that George Floyd should still be alive. It’s true that there is just no justification for us losing Dante Wright yesterday. It’s true that those responsible for these deaths must be held accountable for their deaths. It’s true that you cannot honor the memory of George Floyd. You cannot honor the memory of Dante Wright by wreaking havoc in the communities and the neighborhoods that they called home.
Mayor Carter: (21:18)
We are tasked, and I’m not just talking about the governor and I, I’m not just talking about Mayor Frye and I, I’m not even just talking about the law enforcement leaders who are here. We are tasked, our community members, our legislature’s, our city council members, our police officers, our community members, our business community, our advocates, our students, our youth, all of us together are tasked with navigating those truths at the same time. All of us together are tasked with ensuring that our communities can not be destroyed, with ensuring that we are protecting life. That we’re protecting the livelihoods of the people who we represent. All of us are responsible for together, ensuring that we are setting our communities forward on a safe trajectory like the governor said not just after something terrible happens.
Mayor Carter: (22:19)
We have been preparing to ramp up for the close of the Chauvin trial, and we are prepared to ramp up law enforcement presence across St. Paul and across the twin cities. But just ramping up law enforcement presence, just getting officers to the scene over and over and over again after something horrible. After something unspeakable, after something tragic happens in our community to our youth just will not suffice. We are responsible. We are today, joining with the governor with Mayor Frye in declaring a state of emergency in St. Paul, in declaring a citywide curfew that will extend from 7:00 PM to 6:00 AM with the similar exemptions laid out already by Mayor Frye, I won’t repeat them. But we also have to tackle some questions. We have to address some really hard questions. We have to address them in our police departments. We have to address them in our city halls.
Mayor Carter: (23:46)
We have to address them in our State legislature. We have to ask ourselves why, how does this keep happening over and over again in America, in the world, in Minnesota? We have to know that the first law of motion is that objects in motion will remain in motion until some force stops it from happening. And so, when we recognize this strong, horrific trend that keeps happening over and over and over again, we have to know that Dante Wright will not be the last name, will not be the last hashtag on this list until, and unless we take decisive and urgent action to ensure that he is. We’re watching, the world is watching the Chauvin trial. The world will watch this process and the world will ask if there’s justice. But let me tell you, someone landing in jail for their deaths may be a starting point, but it’s not justice.
Mayor Carter: (24:58)
For the Wright family who we mourn alongside you today, we lament what happened yesterday and any one of us with children or parents or cousins or siblings who we love know that there’s probably no such thing as justice. There’s probably no such thing as being made whole for what they lost, for who they lost, for the future they lost, for the future we all lost yesterday, for the potential we all lost yesterday. But if we’re going to do something and I would say, we have to do something, it’s committing ourselves to letting his name be the last one on our list. We have to ask ourselves questions like why? When we see this, that looks like a horrible, horrible, terrible mistake. We have to ask ourselves questions like why do we even have tasers that operate and function and feel and deploy exactly like a firearm?
Mayor Carter: (26:22)
Why can’t we have tasers that look and feel differently? That you could never mistake for deploying a firearm, so that we can ensure that that mistake which has happened before can never happen again. We have questions to address and as important as it is to hear from our governor, as important as it is to hear from our mayors right now, there are no words or speeches that we can tell you right now that can suffice in this moment. It’s about what we do next, what we do with this moment, what we do with this grief, what we do with this heartache. What we do, what we build from this tragedy. I’ve asked you before and I’ll ask you again. As we process this grief, I am moving forward, channeling my energy into how we urgently stop these trends from recurring in our community.
Mayor Carter: (27:35)
There’s no space in my heart where I accept what happened last night, what’s played out over and over again. There’s no space in my heart where I feel patient about our urgent need to stop this from recurring. And there is no place in my heart where I believe that destruction, despair, that further traumatizing the same neighborhoods who woke up this morning with our hearts so, so heavy will help to build a better future. So we’re asking people to move forward with a sense of peace. We’re asking folks to move forward with a resolve to continue our work, to push our work, to be at the Capitol, to be at the State government, to be at our city governments, to be at our County governments, to be everywhere we need to be to build a better future. As we work together to prevent anyone in any circumstances, including officers and including people who would take to the streets to exploit the death of George Floyd.
Mayor Carter: (29:01)
To exploit the death of Dante Wright, to exploit the cause for justice, to exploit the cause for peace, to exploit the calls for a better future as an excuse to wreak havoc and destruction in our neighborhoods. We will not accept that today, tomorrow, yesterday, or ever. I’m proud to stand with the partners that we have. I am confident in our ability in this moment to provide the partnership among our law enforcement agencies, among our jurisdictions, among our city and with the State. And I look forward to our resolve, to our decisiveness, to our urgency with ensuring that we don’t have to do this press conference ever again. I’m going to welcome our governor back. Thank you.
Speaker 2: (30:13)
Thank you, Mayor.
Mayor Carter: (30:16)
Thank you, sir
Speaker 2: (30:19)
Thank you, Mayor Carter and Mayor Frye. Under the advice and recommendations of the mayors of their public safety experts and of the folks you see here assembled under operation safety net, as governor, I too, will be extending a curfew throughout the counties of Hennepin, Ramsey and Anoka following the same guidance that you heard from the mayor starting at 7:00 PM to 6:00 AM with the exceptions in there for people doing their essential work and some of the other things that were put in for patrolling citizens, patrolling and protecting of their neighborhoods. And I would say again that our commitment and the commitment of the folks standing here, as you heard both the mayors say, these conversations about change must happen in our homes. They must happen on the streets. They certainly must happen in the State legislature, and we need to create the safe space for where that can happen.
Speaker 2: (31:09)
But for those who choose to go out and as Mayor Carter said, to exploit these tragedies for destruction or personal gain, you can rest assured that the largest police presence in Minnesota history in coordination will be prepared. You will be arrested. You will be charged and there will be consequences for those actions. It’s not debatable. You’re not making the case, you’re hurting the case. You’re undermining the grief and you hear it from families time and time again, don’t you dare step into our space where we’re trying to enact change through our system. So the curfew will be a part of that. I encourage those that are out expressing their views peacefully to take every advantage of that in every space they deem necessary and safe to do so, but understand that in the moment we’re in, we need to enforce the curfew starting at 7:00 PM tonight until 6:00 AM tomorrow and we will have further guidance as the days go on. So Minnesotans, this is our moment. This is the time for us to …
Tim Walz: (32:03)
The days go on. So Minnesotans, this is our moment. This is the time for us to step up, as we said in May, and make the changes necessary to truly live up to the values of this state that every person, every child matters. With that, I’m going to turn it over to the public safety experts to get into more of the details on this. And I’ll turn it to the Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, John Harrington, to start us out.
Speaker 3: (32:23)
Tim Walz: (32:24)
Speaker 3: (32:27)
Tim Walz: (32:27)
I have not yet spoken to them. There have been calls made and that is being set up.
Speaker 3: (32:36)
Tim Walz: (32:36)
I am going to the Capitol right now.
Speaker 3: (32:38)
Can you just ask you one question?
Tim Walz: (32:39)
Speaker 3: (32:39)
[inaudible 00:32:39] talk about police accountability, things that have proven that you think the legislature should consider, can you give us some specifics that might’ve specifically helped in yesterday [inaudible 00:32:49]?
Tim Walz: (32:49)
Yeah. I think the idea of routine traffic stops being a heavily armed situation and one that this was an apparently in a expired tabs, that I think these conversations about the changing culture, the change that we do policing, those types of things. And of course, this is obviously one that will be discussed amongst the folks that are here. Obviously, a training situation is you heard Mayor Carter say, the idea that you could interchange the two even in the euphemism of the fog of war simply can’t happen. So those are things that need to be discussed. I’m probably most disappointed in that much of this starts much younger, whether it be reforms in juvenile justice. We still shackle youth in our systems. We ask for some of those changes. Those things have not even been given the courtesy of a hearing.
Tim Walz: (33:35)
So I think with the community that’s here, the community in this state, that the process of the discussion around these things, what comes out of that, the specific calls to fix some of these things, are things that they can work out, things that we’ve seen work elsewhere. And as I said, just like in May, these were things we agreed upon from community activists to law enforcement professionals that made a difference, and some of the changes we made to the post board, some of the things that our expectations were around training. So I would just say there’s numerous things out there. The specifics can come out of that discussion. But just to be very clear, there is no intention as we stand here today of having a single hearing on a single thing to change this. And that’s simply not acceptable. There are smart people over there. We can get together, we can work the way the system’s supposed to work and there’s things that they can put out. With that, Mr. Harrington.
Speaker 3: (34:44)
John Herrington: (34:44)
My name’s John Harrington, I’m the Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety. Do you want to answer question first?
Speaker 4: (34:53)
John Herrington: (34:53)
Okay. We did not ask the twins to not hold their games. We did advise some major businesses, churches, and community organizations about the curfew law. And I think many organizations made the decision that if their game or their business would conflict with the curfew, they made their own decisions as to whether or not it was prudent to put their customers out at a time when being out for recreation would not be one of those exempted activities.
Speaker 3: (35:29)
Commissioner, why the curfew beginning at 7:00 PM? The family vigil’s scheduled for that time. And [inaudible 00:35:30], I believe it was started at eight o’clock, right? Why the early curfew?
John Herrington: (35:41)
So the question is, why an earlier curfew? And the answer to that is that our experience with curfews have been that if we start the curfew after dark, they are much more difficult to have them work properly. And so we looked at what time sunset would be, which is about eight o’clock tonight. And we wanted to have a time to give us enough time to have the curfew going into effect during still hours of daylight, rather than to do it after dark. And that was done before we knew about the vigil, from my perspective.
Speaker 5: (36:21)
Commissioner, [inaudible 00:36:22].
John Herrington: (36:22)
Could you say it again, because I-
Speaker 5: (36:25)
Last night response by police, the demonstrators, protestors, [inaudible 00:36:26]?
John Herrington: (36:26)
So the question is, was the response last night to demonstrators, and I assume you’re talking about the demonstrators at the Brooklyn Center Police Department. So our response to that is the West Metro Command Team mobilized to stop damage to property windows, being broken, and rocks being thrown at officers, and that they used chemical munitions, as I understand it, to try and move the crowd back farther away so that the officers would take less rocks and less projectiles and there would be less damage to the building. In an ideal world, we would have loved to have had a conversation with the organizers beforehand to talk about, well, where could they protest and where should they be and how can we facilitate their anguish and their grief being expressed? That protest came upon us, frankly, by surprise. Not completely by surprise. We were expecting the group that had protested at the crime scene to continue to protest, but the size of the group and the intent of the group took, I think, the command staff at Brooklyn Center Police Department by surprise, and that triggered the response that you saw.
Speaker 6: (37:54)
Will people be arrested if they gather at that vigil at seven o’clock, even though it’s technically past curfew?
John Herrington: (38:02)
I can’t answer that question, because I don’t know enough about where the vigil is, and I’d love to be able to have a chance to have a conversation with the folks that are organizing the vigil. One of the things that we have already done is we’ve begun reaching out to clergy, to rabbis, and to pastors and to priests and to [inaudible 00:38:21] to say, “Please invite folks that are in pain. Please invite folks that need to have a vehicle and a place for them to express their grief and their sympathies. Please invite them in.” We think that would be a better place for that to happen, but I don’t know the where and the when. But I’m happy to have that conversation and to consider how we can facilitate a vigil that is respectful and lawful and safe.
Speaker 7: (38:55)
Commissioner, [inaudible 00:38:55]. What’s your message to these groups who may feel the need after 7:00 PM tonight to go out and walk their neighborhood, [inaudible 00:39:09]? Should they be concerned about the curfew?
Tim Walz: (39:12)
So the answer is should local businesses and or community groups be afraid? And what you heard, I think, in the mayors and the governors exceptions were, in fact, carve-outs for those kind of community organizations that we know that want to protect their own and protect their community. And we will work with those groups, especially as we know about them. We have already been working with many of them, for example, in little Earth and other places, the Black churches, to make sure that officers have a prior knowledge of what they will likely see, and therefore will respond effectively and respectfully to those folks who are there simply to help us keep the peace, because that’s really what I see their mission as. I don’t see their mission as conflicting with ours. I see their mission as, once again, that’s a communal effort to try and keep the peace.
Tim Walz: (40:07)
I can tell you that as I looked at some of the young African-American and Latinx and Asian business owners whose businesses were broken into and alluded last night, they look like they were in need of help. And we were happy to be able to try and provide that help, and I’d like to be able to get it there faster. We got help on the way within a matter of few hours of the rioting happening at Shingle Creek and were able to mobilize, in no small part because of operation safety net and the coordinated efforts that we had already set up, we were able to mobilize efforts to get to Lake Street and get to Broadway and to get to Shingle Creek, to make sure that we could stop the looting from happening. Because we know that those businesses, those are peoples…
Tim Walz: (41:01)
They may look just like a store with shoes or a store with liquor or a store with phones. But for many people, that’s their life’s work. That’s their life saving. That’s their future and that’s their fortune that has been built into that business. And we want to make sure that they are also kept safe throughout this evening and the evening’s yet to come.
Speaker 8: (41:29)
Tim Walz: (41:29)
So just in very brief, I want to say thank you to both of the mayors and to the Governor for issuing the curfew. I’ve been talking to law enforcement, public safety, sheriffs, most of last night and almost all of today, talking about what can we do to keep the peace. That has been the topic of conversation. We have also started out our conversation today. We had over 300 sheriffs and police departments, police chiefs on a call with us. And we started out with that conversation by saying, “First thing we want you to do is to talk to your community, reach out to your community so that you know what’s going on so that you have a vehicle for conversation and communication so that you know that they know what you’re going to do and you know what their plans are.” So that communication piece has already started. It continues here. I’m happy to be here today. I’m not happy because of the cause of this press conference, but I am happy that this is a vehicle for getting that message out even broader.
Tim Walz: (42:33)
We need to have community, help us keep the peace. And one of the ways they can do this, and we’ve seen in the past, is by coming together in safe and lawful places like churches and synagogues and community centers. It is in that kind of gathering where we really do believe their first amendment rights can be heard, and yet they can also be kept physically safe. And that, I think, is an important component of that. We believe the curfew is important because it’s also an effective deterrent for… For those folks that think they can just go out and break into somebody’s family business and wreak havoc, we want them to know that the police will be looking tonight for them, and that with smaller crowds out in the streets, it will make it simpler and easier for us to identify those bad actors who are out there to create damage and to steal other people’s heart and work. We have already spoken to many of the officers and we’ll continue to train and drill down with the officers because we want them to operate even within this curfew to operate with both respect and discretion.
Tim Walz: (43:41)
Recognizing that not everybody that’s going to be out is in fact, a bad actor, that many of those people are, in fact, going to be coming home from work or going to work or taking care of a loved one that has to have medicine. We recognize that. So we recognize that the media will be out covering and that we want to make sure that the media is handled respectfully and treated with respect and dignity, as your service also dictates. You will see significant resources out today. As I said, within a matter of hours of the looting happening at Shingle Creek, we were mobilizing Minneapolis police department, Hennepin County Sheriff’s Department, Minnesota State Patrol, Minnesota DNR, and numerous members of the Minnesota National Guard to property protection posts and to anti looting posts and to serve as a buffer between those who would commit damage and cause harm.
Tim Walz: (44:40)
You will see even more of those folks out tonight. We have continued our mobilization overnight, and you will see literally hundreds and hundreds of uniform individuals out with a very simple mission. Keep the peace, protect people’s constitutional rights, and to do it with dignity and respect. And with that, I will turn it over to the Chief of the Minneapolis Police Department, Medaria Arradondo.
Medaria Arradondo: (45:16)
Good afternoon, everyone. Coming to you as we have been weekly in terms of operation safety net and giving our communities that we serve an update. As many of you may remember that operation safety net has four phases. We are now into phase three. Previously, the planning was for phase three to start as the jury starts to meet to look at deciding a verdict. We are in now officially into phase three. So Commissioner Harrington said, “What does that mean for our communities out there?” They are going to see more of our men and women in uniform, more of our citizen soldiers helping to keep our cities and our Metro region safe. I’ve even spoken this afternoon to some of our community business leaders along the Lake Street corridor, as well as Broadway corridor. They were happy to see General Mankey’s soldiers out there along with our law enforcement personnel. And that will continue.
Medaria Arradondo: (46:18)
The other thing I do want to stress is as we have this curfew in place, for the parents who are out there listening to me, and certainly for our neighbors and our community elders, please encourage our young people that they must be in at 7:00 PM tonight. And that goes until 6:00 AM tomorrow morning. But please, whether that’s picking up the telephone, whether that’s getting on your preferred social media platform, but please encourage as much as we can get the message out there, as much as you can influence and have an influence on our young people, please encourage them to do so. Again, we hold two truths. We need to continue to make sure that all of those who wish to peacefully demonstrate and gather, that they are doing that and their first amendment rights are upheld. And all of us here have taken a constitutional oath to protect that.
Medaria Arradondo: (47:12)
But the other truth is exactly that. We can not re-traumatize our communities that have been hurt so much. And so for those individuals who may think that they are going to go into our communities and cause harm, to destroy property, to commit crimes, you will be held accountable and you will be arrested. Minneapolis, at least right now, the numbers that I have as an estimate, 25 to 30 arrests were made last night. And again, that’s to hold folks accountable. And so we want to keep our city safe. We want to keep our community safe. And with that, I’m going to turn it over to Sheriff Hutchinson.
Sheriff Hutchinson: (47:55)
Hello, Bernie I’m Sheriff Dave Hutchinson from Hennepin County. Thank you. First, I want to say, what happened yesterday is obviously very troubling for law enforcement, it’s troubling for ourselves-
Speaker 9: (48:02)
Obviously very troubling for it’s law enforcement, troubling for ourselves in this profession. The last year and a half has not been good for this profession locally. We need to do better. My goal here, work with my partners to make it better. We need to invest in better public safety so we’re never here again. This is a tough time for all of us and Mr. Wright, every life is sacred, his life is sacred, and for us we’re really deeply saddened by that, but again as people have said, we can’t allow what happened last year with the unrest to affect our businesses and affect our livelihood throughout the county and the state. We need to do better and doing better not only for law enforcement but a society is to be better partners so we can effectively police, fairly and impartially, and again just be better every single day. My agency tries to do better every single day. We have a lot on our plate with the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office with the court proceedings, those will go on as scheduled, the court process will go on as scheduled.
Speaker 9: (48:57)
Because again, we need justice for peace and we need peace for justice and through this incident that happened yesterday, we need to make sure our cities and our counties and wherever in the Twin Cities does not have the damage it had last time. We need to heal and we need to be better and with that, I’m going to introduce Colonel Langer from the Minnesota State Patrol. Thank you.
Colonel Langer: (49:22)
Thanks Sheriff. My name is Matt Langer. I have the honor and privilege of serving as chief of the Minnesota State Patrol. I won’t duplicate much of what’s been said already but just for context the Minnesota State Patrol is the state’s lead traffic safety organization across the entire state, and our troopers have sworn an oath to do many things including uphold the Constitution but specifically related to our mission of traffic safety and we’ve been brought into Operation Safety Net as we have talked about through these weekly news conferences to assist the local law enforcement agencies that planned to have a need for resources beyond which they can meet with their own jurisdictions and as Chief Arradondo pointed out, our plan was to get to Phase III of the Operation Safety Net plan about the time of closing arguments and yesterday’s incident in Brooklyn Center triggered the need to move faster into Phase III for reasons that are similar but different at the same time from what happened with our planning effort in Operation Safety Net.
Colonel Langer: (50:23)
So yesterday we fortunately had about 80 state troopers from across Minnesota already in town. We kept them in town after learning of the incident and thankfully we did because they were easily deployed immediately upon when the need came in. Yesterday evening, we also deployed all of the Phase III resources of the Minnesota State Patrol and the Department of Natural Resources conservation officers so while we still have troopers working across all of Minnesota, and conservation officers working in all of Minnesota, those minimum staffing levels have been reached in Greater Minnesota and the swell of resources has arrived in the metro to hit what the commissioner pointed out to everyone to be the swell of resources and the visibility that you will see with our national guard, with our state troopers, our conversation officers, our county sheriff’s deputies, and our local police officers all across the metro, Brooklyn Center included, to ensure that we uphold the two truths or fundamental goals that Chief Rondo pointed out, that we encourage people to exercise their First Amendment right, but we are prohibiting the destruction and the dangerous activity, some of which we saw last night.
Colonel Langer: (51:35)
So the last thing I’ll just say is you will see those resources and there’s been much talk of enforcement and believe me we’re ready to do the enforcement, but it comes with an ask too because I think Minnesotans are good people. We need help, and I’ve said that before and I’ll say it again, in this moment, we need help. We need help from Minnesotans to help encourage us to have people obey the curfew order, to stay home, to give some space to get through today, tonight, peacefully, and if we can do that, it will help set the stage for a much better week, a much better month, and a much better year as we do all of the other things that other leaders have expressed are necessary in our state. With that, I will introduce the Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard, General Manke.
General Manke: (52:30)
Thank you Colonel Langer. Late last night the Minnesota National Guard was asked to support the City of Brooklyn Center, which we did with approximately 100 Minnesota National Guard members, to helped to secure the police department headquarters and support them in their effort. As of this morning, the Minnesota National Guard had approximately 500 personnel assigned as support operations safety net. Efforts throughout the metro area, predominantly Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Brooklyn Center. We anticipate this number will grow to over 1,000 by the end of today as we quickly accelerate our manning levels to achieve our Phase III manning levels.
General Manke: (53:11)
Additional guardsmen will be placed in staging areas until they are assigned specific missions and shift rotations based on conditions and the needs on the ground. There have been rumors that the Minnesota National Guard has used non-lethal munitions in and around Minneapolis-St. Paul. I want to tell you that that is simply not true. We have not used those. We don’t anticipate using those and we did not use those in any of the civil unrest support that we have provided over the last year.
General Manke: (53:40)
The Minnesota National Guard continues to be an active participant in all aspects of Operation Safety Net and is working in conjunction with all the partners you see before us. We are committed to meeting the intent of Operation Safety Net to protect the communities and the people while preserving their constitutional rights and the peaceful expression of First Amendment rights. I’ll turn it over to Commissioner Harrington at this time.
Speaker 10: (54:16)
Commissioner, can you tell us a little more about the shooting itself including the name of the officer and [inaudible 00:54:16]
Commissioner Harrington: (54:19)
The question is can I give you an update on the shooting itself and I cannot give you the name because I do not believe that has been released publicly to my knowledge. As best as I understand it, shortly after 2:00 p.m. yesterday, Brooklyn Center officers initiated a traffic stop based on what I understand was either equipment and/or license plate violations. When they checked on the driver of the vehicle, they found that he was suspected of having a warrant for a weapon violation. A decision was made to take him into custody. A struggle ensued and he fled back to the car. The officer who fired the fatal shot did draw a weapon, did fire a shot, which did strike the driver, the driver’s vehicle continued for a distance and then crashed, at which point BCPD and medics then tried to render first aid. One other person that was in the car did have a non-life threatening injury and was then transported. The BCA was contacted actually twice, once from the head of the county sheriff’s department, and once from the Brooklyn Center Police Department to alert to us that there was an officer involved shooting and the BCA’s use of force team responded to do the investigation there.
Speaker 11: (55:55)
Commissioner, [inaudible 00:55:56]?
Commissioner Harrington: (56:10)
So the question was did the BCA endorse or agree to the body cam footage. The body cam footage is in fact property of the originating agency. Generally speaking in any criminal investigation, you would like to have as little information made public until you have all of your witnesses interviewed because you don’t want the footage that would be played over the media to influence or color testimony that we would take from witnesses. We recognize that in the state law around body cams that the chief of police CLEO may release the body cam footage if they believe that it is in the interest of justice or to dispel rumors or to quell riotous type situations. That was the context that we understood that Chief Gannon was operating under and we support the law as it has. We have supported it before when chiefs of police have released body cam video under similar circumstances.
Speaker 12: (57:18)
Commissioner, can you tell us more about what precipitated this traffic stop? Was it [inaudible 00:57:26] you know at this point?
Commissioner Harrington: (57:35)
So the question is what can I tell you about the traffic stop and I can’t tell you a whole lot unfortunately. The investigation is still in its early stages and I can’t give you much more than what I have told you which is largely drawn from the Brooklyn Center Police Department’s press release where I believe they said it was related to a license plate infraction was what they were making the stop over. I don’t know anything about the issue around [inaudible 00:57:59] or anything else.
Speaker 13: (58:01)
Commissioner, two more questions. How come our traffic stops [inaudible 00:58:04]? Is that a common reason to stop anyone, black, white, Hispanic?
Commissioner Harrington: (58:10)
So the question is how common are expired plate stops and I would say from my personal experience they are very common.
Speaker 13: (58:18)
Then also do you agree with the governor that one of the things that the legislature could do is pay for a mandate, better training, especially in these cases where there’s an overwhelming armed response to a routine traffic stop? Did that contribute to this along with the fact that the suspect also resisted arrest? Does that need to be a part of this as well?
Commissioner Harrington: (58:43)
I think you’re overstating … The question is whether training as the governor outlined it was an appropriate remedy for this and as an old training director I would say training is very much necessary as we change behaviors and change law and we have to train our officers and from my recollection it takes a lot of repetitions to train officers and we have lots of more training to do. We have continued working with the Chiefs of Police Association, the Sheriffs Association, who have asked for additional training to make sure that officers are well-trained and I’m not sure that I can answer the second part of your question. It’s a little more hypothetical than I feel like I’m comfortable answering.
Speaker 13: (59:27)
So often these incidents result from someone resisting arrest. They may feel they’re being targeted unfairly, I understand that, but then it leads to these egregious things happening. Is there any remedy to that?
Commissioner Harrington: (59:45)
There are remedies for every problem out there. Some of them we’ve thought through, and some of them we haven’t yet acted on. I know there are departments around the country that are talking about not having the licensed, sworn and armed police officers involved in traffic enforcement. That’s an option that I’ve heard from other chiefs from other parts of the country, but having traffic law enforcement done by whether it’s the state patrol or local law enforcement dates back to when motor vehicles first went on the road.
Commissioner Harrington: (01:00:21)
So are there ways to train better so that these kind of tragedies happen as infrequently as possible? Yes. Is there a way to absolutely prevent it from ever happening again, engage in a case where someone is resisting arrest? I’d like to think that there are better tools and better methods out there and I think that is going to be one of the things I think the governor is asking the state legislature to do. It’s one of the things that I and my other folks that are in the public safety arena are asking ourselves, how can we do this better? There are things that we have done because we’ve done them the same way for 100 years. That doesn’t mean that they can’t be changed or that they shouldn’t be re-looked at under a different light and see how those results may change if we change that activity.
Speaker 14: (01:01:14)
[crosstalk 01:01:14] escalate things to that?
Commissioner Harrington: (01:01:28)
I am optimistic that with the officers we have present and the calls for peace that we are making, that even if we do have protests tonight that they will be lawful and that they will be peaceful. That’s my hope.
Speaker 14: (01:02:10)
Thank you. Thank you Commissioner.