Story at a glance
- Bodycam footage from the shooting of Daunte Wright was released on Monday.
- The officer who fired the shot reportedly confused the gun for her taser.
- Authorities are calling for peaceful demonstrations.
The Minnesota officer who fatally shot Daunte Wright mistook her gun for her taser, accidentally killing the 20-year-old Black man after a traffic stop on Sunday.
Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon was joined by town Mayor Mike Elliott where they released the body camera footage of the arresting officer who fired the fatal shot.
The footage showed three officers responding to the traffic stop, asking Wright to step out of the car.
Once he does, one of the officers begins to handcuff him. A third officer approaches Wright and the other officer, and a struggle ensues. Once Wright wrestles himself back into his car, the third responding officer pulls out her gun, although saying “taze him” repeatedly.
Seconds later, the third officer shouts “Holy sh*t!” as Wright drives away. The third officer says to her fellow officers “I just shot him.”
It is later revealed that Wright drove off and crashed into another car. He died at the scene.
Gannon said the shot was an accidental discharge resulting in the “tragic death” of Wright. The officer is on administrative leave, and the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) is investigating the situation.
The car was pulled over initially for expired tags, and then officers focused on the air fresheners hanging from the mirror, violating a local law. Once Wright was identified, officers ran his name and found he had a warrant out for his arrest.
Gannon also said he has very little information about the investigation since it is ongoing. He implored residents to protest peacefully and to not intentionally damage local businesses.
“Our hearts are aching right now. We are in pain right now. And we recognize that this couldn’t have happened at a worse time,” Elliott said, referring to the simultaneous trial of Derek Chauvin following the slaying of George Floyd in May 2020.
One of the catalyzing events of the Black Lives Matter protests in the summer of 2020, Floyd’s death after Chauvin knelt on his neck during a botched arrest highlighted the systemic racism embedded in U.S. policing.
Chauvin’s trial began in late March with the nation watching to see if a jury will find him guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Multiple law enforcement divisions, including the Minnesota National Guard, have been deployed to Minneapolis for potential crowd control. Some of those personnel will be deployed to Brooklyn Center after protests broke out on Sunday evening. This prompted law enforcement to use measures like tear gas and flash bangs. Elliott also issued a curfew for 10 p.m. that expired at 6 a.m. Monday morning.
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