Officer Who Shot Daunte Wright Grabbed Gun Instead of Taser, Bodycam Video Released
BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. (FOX 9) – The police officer who fatally shot Daunte Wright, 20, during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota Sunday mistakenly drew her handgun instead of a Taser, according to the police chief.
Officials released the body camera video of the incident Monday during a news conference.
On body camera video, the officer is heard shouting “taser, taser!” but was holding her handgun instead of a Taser. She then fired a single shot.
Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon called it an “accidental discharge.” He said the female officer appeared to be intending to deploy her Taser, but instead pulled out her handgun and fired a shot, killing Wright.
Gannon said he was not aware of any weapon found in Wright’s car.
The incident started shortly before 2 p.m. on the 6300 block of Orchard Avenue. Officers stopped the vehicle for expired tabs. Once police learned the driver, Wright, had a warrant for a gross misdemeanor, they tried to arrest him, but he got back into his vehicle. At that point, the officer fired her gun, hitting Wright, who then drove several blocks before crashing into another car.
Wright was pronounced dead at the scene. A woman in the car was hurt in the crash but is expected to survive.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the deadly shooting. Additionally, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman stated that any charging decision will be handled by the Washington County Attorney’s Office.
Gannon said it was his decision to release the body camera video right away, which the BCA does not condone.
“I felt the community needed to know what happened,” the chief said. “They needed to see it. I needed to be transparent and I wanted to be forthright and give respect to Daunte as well.”
Mayor Mike Elliot supports termination of officer
The officer who fatally shot Wright has not been formally identified, but the chief said she is a senior officer on the force. The officer is currently on administrative leave.
Mayor Mike Elliot said he supports firing the officer who shot Wright. Elliot said the city manager has control over the police department, not the mayor, but that the city council can take action as well.
Protesters gathered at the police department Sunday
As police left the scene of Sunday’s shooting around 8 p.m., protesters followed officers, moving from the area of 63rd Avenue North and Kathrene Drive to the Brooklyn Center Police Department on North Humboldt Avenue.
At the department, a group of people gathered on Humboldt and used garbage cans and other objects to create a makeshift barricade. Vehicles also blocked traffic as protesters gathered in the roadway to call for justice in the shooting.
Police used flash bangs and tear gas to disperse protesters.
In statements to Twitter Sunday, the Mayor of Brooklyn Center and the Governor of Minnesota both addressed the shooting.
In a tweet, Gov. Tim Walz said he is “closely monitoring” the situation and said he and his wife are “praying for Daunte Wright’s family as our state mourns another life of a Black man taken by law enforcement.”
Mayor Mike Elliot called the shooting “tragic” and urged protesters to be peaceful in the aftermath. He also called on police to not use force against peaceful protesters.
The American Civil Liberties Union also issued a statement about the Brooklyn Center shooting Sunday, calling the details of the incident “troubling.”
“The ACLU of Minnesota calls for an immediate, transparent and independent investigation by an outside agency other than the Brooklyn Center Police or the BCA, and for the quick release of any bodycam footage. We call for the naming of all officers and agencies involved.”