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‘Conspiracy theory’: Daily Mail, ACLU tweet dubious rumor Daunte Wright was pulled over for an air freshener

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Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.

For those who are mystified over why young people are in the streets in Brooklyn Center, Minn., rioting and looting over the death of a wanted criminal suspect trying to flee in a vehicle, look no further than the media.

In post-Obama America, where minority communities have been convinced by the Democratic Party and their media allies that they live in a country that oppresses them, facts take a back seat to emotion and misinformation.

In the death of Daunte Wright, 20, who was shot and killed by a police officer after resisting arrest, a rumor began circulating almost immediately that police pulled him over for having an air freshener hanging from his mirror — a rumor started by the deceased suspect’s own mother.

With Democratic officials immediately assigning racial motives to the shooting and emotions already running high — Brooklyn Center is a suburb of Minneapolis, where the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin is currently underway in the death of George Floyd — the Daily Mail repeated the rumor in a tweet linking to its reporting.

The tweet read: “Black Minneapolis man, 20, is shot dead by cop after being pulled over for ‘air freshener hanging from mirror.'”

(Image: Twitter)

The ACLU of Wisconsin also pushed the rumor, though they had the good sense to delete their tweet — something the Daily Mail has yet to do as of this writing.

“Daunte Wright was allegedly pulled over for having air fresheners hanging in his rearview mirror, and now his life has been tragically taken by police violence. He was 20 years old. Reform is not enough,” ACLU of Wisconsin said in the now-deleted tweet.

As for the implied racial implications, Wright is identified as a black man, though his mother is white, and the female officer who shot him is white.

Following a now-familiar script, family members of suspects shot by the police are showcased by the media reacting to the loss of a loved one in real time. Overcome by grief and emotion, they often express opinions about what happened with little or no information on what actually occurred.

Wright’s mother showed up at the scene of Sunday’s shooting and told those gathered that she was speaking to her son on the phone just before he was shot, according to the Star Tribune.

“All he did was have air fresheners in the car and they told him to get out of the car,” the emotionally distraught mother said.

In reality, Wright was pulled over for an expired tag and officers tried to arrest him after learning he had an outstanding warrant for failing to appear in court on charges of fleeing from officers and illegally possessing a gun, the Associated Press reported.

As three police officers were in the process of handcuffing him outside his vehicle — Wright violently jerked away and jumped inside the car. A female voice was heard in body-cam footage shouting “Taser!” just before Wright was shot. This is part of their training to alert officers nearby that a Taser shot is imminent.

According to Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon, the officer who shot Wright intended to use her taser, not her service weapon. The shooting is being classified as an “accidental discharge.”

But the facts have little bearing when there’s an irresponsible rush to draw eyeballs and drive emotion.

Here’s a sampling of responses to the story from Twitter that captures the sentiment of the rational minded:

Tom Tillison

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