Minneapolis police on Thursday announced two arrests in connection with the shooting death of 30-year-old Imez Wright at George Floyd Square last week.
At a news conference recapping the first few days of the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin, Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said two people had been arrested. He would not provide details about the arrests.
Police spokesman John Elder later said that he couldn't divulge the gender of the two people arrested or provide any other identifying information because the case remained "extremely active." He added that any further information would come from the Hennepin County Attorney's Office.
When asked why the arrest was announced without detail, the spokesman said it was to demonstrate that the department is taking the case seriously since "people feel like we are not doing anything about 38th and Chicago.
"And so announcing that there were two arrests is extremely important even if we are unable to give additional information at this point," said Elder.
Hennepin County jail records show a 30-year-old man was booked Thursday on suspicion of murder, but it's unclear whether he is linked to the 38th and Chicago shooting.
Friends and colleagues said Wright worked for Change Inc., where he was part of a team of 10 social service staffers who mentor Black youth in St. Paul and was training to be a mental health practitioner. After a turbulent childhood and early adulthood — MPD records show that he was wounded in a shooting in April 2017 — friends said that Wright seemed to be turning a corner and was working with at-risk youths to help steer them from gangs and drugs. One of his former supervisors at Agape movement, a community protection program for the George Floyd Square area, told the Star Tribune that Wright was passionate about changing his life.
A preliminary police investigation determined that Wright and a suspect had been arguing when the suspect shot him several times and fled in a light-colored Suburban that had been struck by gunfire. Wright was pronounced dead at an area hospital.
At the news conference Thursday, Arradondo and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey condemned recent violence in the area of 38th and Chicago and said they are having daily conversations about how to reopen the intersection.
As they do so, they are trying to balance the desire to honor Floyd's legacy with demands from other residents who feel their safety is in jeopardy.
"How do we stop and prevent what's been occurring? We have to stay vigilant," Arradondo said. "I will say from a public safety [standpoint], we have to open up that intersection. And I know that may be difficult for some people who have been holding space in there since last year, but we have to open up that intersection. And we can do both. We can facilitate the tribute and recognition and honor Mr. Floyd and yet get that intersection back open. We're having ongoing conversations. There will be more today."
But activists and some residents say that the intersection where Floyd was killed has not only become a memorial for him and other victims of police violence, but that it also serves as a place of healing.
Last month, city officials announced plans to reopen the intersection, but not until the conclusion of Chauvin's trial.
Staff writer Liz Navratil contributed to this report.
Libor Jany • 612-673-4064