MINNEAPOLIS: Protestors shout "Don't shoot" while kneeling and raising up their arms in front of a line of police officers at the Brooklyn Center Police Station during a protest after a police officer shot and killed a black man in Brooklyn Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota on Sunday. - AFP

MINNEAPOLIS: A suburb of Minneapolis was under curfew early yesterday after US police fatally shot a young black man, sparking protests not far from where a former police officer was on trial for the murder of George Floyd. Hundreds of people gathered outside the police station in Brooklyn Center, northwest of Minneapolis, with police later firing teargas and flash bangs to disperse the crowd, according to an AFP videojournalist.

By around midnight local time (0500 GMT), the National Guard was on the scene and Brooklyn Center mayor Mike Elliott imposed a curfew from 1 am yesterday until 6 am. "We want to make sure everyone is safe," the mayor tweeted. "Please be safe and please go home."

The mother of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, told a crowd earlier Sunday evening that he called her to say he had been pulled over by police, local media reported. Katie Wright said she heard officers tell her son to put his phone down, and then one of the officers ended the call. Soon after, her son's girlfriend told her he had been shot.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension confirmed to AFP it was "investigating an officer-involved shooting incident" in Brooklyn Center but declined to identify the victim. According to a statement from the Brooklyn Center Police Department, officers pulled over a driver for a traffic violation. When they discovered he had an outstanding warrant, they tried to take him into custody.

He got back into his car, and one of the officers fired their weapon, striking the driver, who died at the scene. A female passenger in the car suffered "non-life threatening injuries" and was transported to a local hospital, said the statement, which did not identify the woman. Photos from the protest showed men stomping on the windshield of a police cruiser. Police fired rubber bullets to try to disperse the protesters, according to the Star Tribune.

After about an hour, the police presence eased, and the crowd lit candles and wrote messages such as "Justice for Daunte Wright" in chalk on the street. But clashes broke out again soon after as another group of several hundred protesters gathered outside the Brooklyn Center Police Headquarters and were met with teargas and flash bangs. Speaking at a press conference, John Harrington, the state's commissioner of public safety, reported "rocks and other objects thrown at the police department."

He added that officers were sent to the scene and the crowd had mostly dispersed. About 20 businesses were looted at a local mall, he said. Harrington said more National Guard troops would be moved into the area yesterday, to deal with potential unrest. The shooting comes during the ongoing trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin, who is facing charges of manslaughter and murder over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last May.

Floyd's killing sparked months of protests in the United States against racism and police brutality and attracted international outrage. Mayor Elliott called the shooting "tragic", while Minnesota governor Tim Walz said the state "mourns another life of a Black man taken by law enforcement." - AFP