BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. – A 20-year-old black man died after he was shot dead by a police officer during a traffic obstruction on Sunday. On Monday, the police chief said it was an accident and the officer mistook her gun for a taser.
The man who died was later identified as being by officers
The Brooklyn Center Police Chief showed a body-worn camera video of police approaching Mr. Wright’s car at a press conference Monday. Mr. Wright gets out of the car and gets back in when the police try to pull him out again. Another officer points a gun at Mr. Wright and repeatedly says that she will use her taser. The car spins off and the officer can say, « Holy shit, I shot him. »
Mr Gannon said he viewed it as « an accidental discharge that led to the tragic death of Mr Wright ». Officers are trained to draw their taser with their non-dominant hand and their firearm with their dominant hand.
Chief Gannon said he posted the video because he wanted to be transparent and show respect for Mr. Wright’s family . « It was very important for me to get the video out as soon as possible, » he said.
Mayor of Brooklyn Center
said the shooting of Mr. Wright could not have happened at a worse time.
« Our hearts are aching right now, we’re in pain right now, » said Mr. Elliott. “We acknowledge that this is happening at a time when our church, all of America, indeed the whole world, is watching our church. That we are all devastated together and for over a year by killing
and that we continue to be desperate as we go through the Derek Chauvin Process. “
The mayor said he would support the dismissal of the policeman who fired her gun. She was taken on administrative leave.
The chief said the officer in question, whom he described as « a very high-ranking officer, » would not return to work until the investigation was over.
The Brooklyn Center Police, which borders Minneapolis, said the shooting occurred while trying to arrest a driver with a pending arrest warrant after a traffic obstruction shortly before 2 p.m. Sunday. Chief Gannon said the car was originally stopped for an expired registration. As the officers approached the car, an object was hanging on the rearview mirror, and then the officers discovered an arrest warrant.
Mr. Elliott said Mr. Wright’s car drove several blocks before hitting another vehicle, and officers would have provided medical assistance.
A woman in the vehicle who was being driven by Mr. Wright at the time of the accident suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was taken to hospital, according to police.
One identified herself in an interview broadcast by local media Woman as
Mr. Wright’s mother said he told her he was run over because of the air fresheners hanging on his rearview mirror. She said her son called her from the car to ask where the insurance information was and heard officials asking him to get out of the car. A brawl broke out and one of the officers said, « Daunte, don’t run » before the call was cut off. She called back a minute later and spoke to Mr. Wright’s friend, who said he was shot, she said in the interview.
Brooklyn Center police did not immediately respond to a call for comment on the mother’s account. Previously, they passed questions to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which is investigating.
Cases of police officers mistaking their guns for tasers are rare, say researchers and law enforcement veterans. Tasers are generally light yellow in color and are lighter in color than handguns. Most officers wear them on the other side of their belts as their weapons to avoid confusion, said Frank Straub, director of the National Police Foundation, a nonprofit that works to improve policing.
A transit officer out the Bay Area who shot
On New Years Day 2009, when he lay face down on a train station platform, he said he mistook his gun for his taser. The officer,
was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2010.
« You don’t have many cases like this, » said John Burris, a civil rights attorney who represented Mr. Grant’s family. « That’s pretty shocking. »
A Pennsylvania officer who shot and wounded an inmate in a cell in 2019 also said he mistook his gun for his taser. The officer was not charged, but it was found that he violated the department’s guidelines by packing his taser on the same side as his weapon.
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