Officer who ‘accidentally’ shot black man identified as more protests take place

The police officer who shot a black man after a traffic stop in a Minneapolis suburb has been identified as a veteran of 26 years.

Kim Potter shot Daunte Wright on Sunday, on the outskirts of the same city where George Floyd was killed last year.

Police chiefs believe she accidentally used her gun instead of a Taser, with the officer recorded on body-cam saying “Holy s***, I just shot him” as Mr Wright managed to drive off.

The shooting sparked a second evening of unrest on Monday when several hundred defied a curfew and gathered at the Brooklyn Center police station chanting the 20-year-old’s name.

People gathered outside Brooklyn Center police department
Image:People gathered outside Brooklyn Center police department
Police fired some gas canisters and flash-bang grenades after objects were thrown
Image:Police fired gas canisters and flash-bang grenades after objects were thrown

Officers in riot gear fired a small number of gas canisters and flash-bang grenades after some demonstrators threw bottles and other objects.

“Move back!” police ordered. “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” they chanted back.

National Guard troops had been expected to more than double to over 1,000 by Monday night in case the situation escalated.

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Authorities said Mr Wright was pulled over for having an expired registration and that police tried to arrest him after discovering he had an outstanding warrant.

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Moment officer ‘accidentally’ shoots Daunte Wright

Video shows a scuffle after he tries to avoid being handcuffed and gets back in his car – it’s then that Kim Potter is heard shouting “Taser” several times before firing her handgun.

Mr Wright managed to drive several blocks before crashing and died from a gunshot wound to the chest, according to the medical examiner.

Kim Potter is on administrative leave and Brooklyn Center police chief Tim Gannon released the body-cam footage on Monday, telling reporters he believed the shooting was a mistake.

“This appears to me from what I viewed and the officer’s reaction in distress immediately after that this was an accidental discharge that resulted in the tragic death of Mr Wright,” he said.

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Fatal police shooting sparks second night of protests
Daunte Wright's mother said her heart was 'broken in a thousand pieces'. Pic: AP
Image:Daunte Wright’s mother said her heart was ‘broken in a thousand pieces’. Pic: AP

His family have rejected that suggestion and his half-brother, Dallas Wright, told a vigil on Monday: “My brother lost his life because they were trigger happy.”

His mother Katie Wright said: “My heart is broken in a thousand pieces… I miss him so much, and it’s only been a day.

“He was my life, he was my son and I can never get that back. Because of a mistake? Because of an accident?”

Brooklyn Center mayor Mike Elliot has called the shooting “deeply tragic” and wants the officer to be dismissed.

Protesters at Monday's demonstration held pictures of the 20-year-old
Image:Protesters at Monday’s demonstration held pictures of the 20-year-old

It comes as tensions in Minneapolis remain high as the trial over the death of George Floyd takes place 10 miles away, with police officer Derek Chauvin accused of murder.

The lawyer who helped win a $27m civil settlement for the Floyd family said he was now representing the Wright family.

“Daunte Wright is yet another young Black man killed at the hands of those who have sworn to protect and serve all of us – not just the whitest among us,” said Ben Crump in a statement.

Mr Wright’s father, Aubrey, told the Washington Post his son had dropped out of high school due to a learning disability and was working several jobs to support his two-year-old son.

President Joe Biden has called or a “full-blown investigation” and urged people to remain peaceful.

Analysis: After the death of George Floyd, this feels like another unsettling chapter for Minneapolis

By Sally Lockwood, US correspondent

For many here this is a familiar story. Same story just a different name.

Anxious over the outcome of the trial of Derek Chauvin, the community is already calling for justice for another.

At a second night of protests in Minneapolis, the familiar chants “say his name, George Floyd” became “say his name, Daunte Wright”.

Then the well versed war of fireworks, tier gas and rubber bullets thrown between protestors and police. It’s a familiar pattern of engagement.

After just 24 hours without her 20-year-old son, Daunte Wright’s mother broke down in tears as she addressed the community who had gathered at a vigil.

Describing her heart being broken into a thousand pieces, the intimate moment was pierced by the sound of emergency warnings on mobile phones – alert messages for another curfew order in a bid to calm the city over her son’s death.

Minneapolis was already braced for unrest when the verdict comes for former officer Derek Chauvin, charged with murdering George Floyd.

Few would have imagined the wretched events that have unfolded before the trial concludes.

Another futile loss of life at the hands of law enforcement – an unfathomable explanation that an officer mixed up their firearm with their taser.

It’s little wonder so many black citizens say they’ve had it with the status quo in America.

It feels a story with no ending – but the start of another unsettling chapter for Minneapolis.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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