Biden calls for peaceful protests after police shooting of Daunte Wright
President Biden on Monday called for calm in the aftermath of a fatal police shooting of a Black man in a Minneapolis suburb shortly after the police chief there said he believed the officer involved mistakenly used a gun instead of a Taser.
Biden told reporters in the Oval Office that he had spoken with Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) and local authorities in Brooklyn Center, Minn., about the Sunday shooting of Daunte Wright, but that he had not yet spoken to Wright’s family.
“I think we’ve got to wait and see what the investigation shows. The entire investigation. You’ve all watched, I assume as I did, the … body cam, which is fairly graphic,” Biden said. “The question is: Was it an accident, was it intentional? That remains to be determined by a full-blown investigation.”
“But in the meantime, I want to make it clear again: There is absolutely no justification, none, for looting. No justification for violence; peaceful protest is understandable,” Biden added.
President Biden on fatal police shooting of Daunte Wright in Minnesota on Sunday night: “I think we got to wait and see when the investigation shows and the entire investigation. You all watched, I assume as I did, the film, the body cam, which is fairly graphic.” pic.twitter.com/EN7XnKlzeX
— CSPAN (@cspan) April 12, 2021
The president’s comments came a short time after Tim Gannon, the police chief in Brooklyn Center, said the officer who shot Wright, 20, had intended to use her Taser but instead deployed her gun.
“This appears to me, from what I viewed, and the officer’s reaction and distress immediately after, that this was an accidental discharge that resulted in a tragic death of Mr. Wright,” Gannon said at a press conference Monday.
The officer, who has not been identified, has been placed on administrative leave.
Wright’s death, which came during a traffic stop prompted by expired registration on his vehicle, has sparked intense protests and demonstrations in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center. Biden said there are already federal resources available in the area if needed to deal with protests.
Demonstrators in Brooklyn Center chanted Wright’s name late Sunday and climbed on top of a police headquarters sign. Officers in riot gear used tear gas and flash bangs to break up the crowd, and the National Guard was deployed.
Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott tweeted a photo earlier in the day in which he is seen taking a phone call from the White House and expressing his thanks to Biden for reaching out to offer help.
— Mayor Mike Elliott (@mayor_elliott) April 12, 2021
The shooting also comes while the area is gripped by the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who’s charged with murdering George Floyd last May by kneeling on his neck for several minutes. Floyd’s death and the video footage of the incident sparked nationwide protests last summer.
When asked on Monday if he was concerned the country was on edge as it awaited a verdict in Chauvin’s trial, Biden said he would not speculate.
“I’m hopeful that there will be a verdict and an outcome that will be supported by a vast majority of people in the region, and that is my expectation and hope,” he said.
–Updated at 3:15 p.m.