Officer who fatally shot black man in Minneapolis ‘meant to reach for Taser – not handgun’, police say

The police officer who fatally shot a black man in Minneapolis on Sunday, sparking more unrest in the city, meant to reach for her Taser and not her handgun during the confrontation, it has been claimed.

Daunte Wright, 20, died on Sunday in a metropolitan area that was already on edge because of the nearby trial of Derek Chauvin – the ex-cop facing murder charges over George Floyd‘s death.

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The officer who shot Daunte Wright is said to have mistakenly reached for her handgun rather than a taser
Image:The officer who shot Daunte Wright is said to have mistakenly reached for her handgun rather than a Taser
Daunte Wright was stopped by police over an invalid registration plate on his car
Image:Mr Wright was stopped by police over an invalid registration plate on his car

Following Mr Wright’s death, Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon released body camera footage from the officer who fired – and told a news conference she had made a mistake.

The footage shows three officers around a stopped car. When another officer attempts to handcuff Mr Wright, a struggle ensues.

The officer is heard shouting “Taser!” several times before firing her weapon.

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“This was an accidental discharge that resulted in a tragic death of Mr Wright,” the chief said.

Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliot called the shooting “deeply tragic.”

“We’re going to do everything we can to ensure that justice is done and our communities are made whole,” he said.

Protestors demonstrate near the corner of Katherene Drive and 63rd Ave North on April 11, 2021 in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota after the killing of Daunte Wright. Photo: Chris Tuite/ImageSPACE /MediaPunch /IPX
Image:The death of Daunte Wright has ignited fury in already tense Minneapolis. Photo: Associated Press

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Protests over black man’s killing by police

The state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the death, which led to protests erupting overnight and people at the scenewaving flags and signs reading “Black Lives Matter“.

Mr Wright was stopped by police about 10 miles from where Mr Floyd died during an arrest in Minneapolis last year.

Authorities said the car was pulled over for having an expired registration and after determining the driver had an outstanding warrant, police said they tried to arrest him.

Then the driver got back into the vehicle and an officer fired, striking him, police said. Mr Wright managed to drive for several blocks before hitting another vehicle.

Police cars were vandalised during the protests
Image:Police cars were vandalised during the protests. Pic: AP

His mother, Katie Wright, urged protesters to stay peaceful following his death. The unrest has seen police fire flashbangs and tear gas in an attempt to contain the protesters.

“All the violence, if it keeps going, it’s only going to be about the violence,” she said.

“We need it to be about why my son got shot for no reason,” she said. “We need to make sure it’s about him and not about smashing police cars, because that’s not going to bring my son back.”

Flash grenades were used to disperse the crowds. Pic: AP
Image:Flash grenades were used to disperse the crowds. Pic: AP

President Joe Biden was briefed on the shooting, and the White House has been in touch with the governor, mayor, and local law enforcement, press secretary Jen Psaki said.

“We were incredibly saddened to hear about the loss of life at the hands of law enforcement in Minnesota yesterday,” she said.

Family and friends of Daunte Wright. Pic: AP
Image:Family and friends mourn Daunte Wright. Pic: AP

National Guard troops and law enforcement officers continued to guard the front of the Brooklyn Center police department on Monday morning.

Police were erecting a concrete barrier as Minnesota State Patrol officers joined the line in front of the precinct.

Mark Gibson

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

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