WASHINGTON — The police officer who shot a 20-year-old black man dead in U.S. state of Minnesota mistakenly used her gun instead of her taser, a police chief said on Monday.
“It is my belief that the officer had the intention to deploy their Taser, but instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet,” Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said of the death of Daunte Wright on Sunday afternoon in the city which is just a few miles away from Minneapolis, where the murder trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin over black man George Floyd’s death is underway.
In the released body camera footage, three police officers approached Wright’s car after pulling him over for expired license tags. An officer pointed a gun at Wright as he grabbed the steering wheel, and then appeared to drop her handgun. She could be heard saying “I just shot him.”
Wright then drove a few blocks from the scene before he crashed into an oncoming vehicle and died at the scene, according to the police.Gannon said that based on his experience and training, it seemed to be an “accidental discharge”.The fatal shooting triggered overnight protest and unrest in Brooklyn Center, leaving businesses damaged and schools closed on Monday.”We recognize that this couldn’t have happened during a worse time,” Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott said at a news conference on Monday. “We are all collectively devastated and we have been for over a year now by the killing of George Floyd.”
U.S. President Joe Biden reached out to Elliott on Monday to offer his support, the mayor said in a tweet.Around noon on Monday, about 50 protesters gathered outside the Brooklyn Center police headquarters, facing about an equal number of state troopers and National Guard troops, local media outlet Star Tribune reported.Brooklyn Center is a city of about 31,000, where most residents are people of color.