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Police: Minnesota officer meant to draw Taser, not handgun

The police chief in a Minneapolis suburb where a Black man was fatally shot during a traffic stop says he believes the officer who fired intended to use a Taser, not a handgun

4/12/2021 8:28:00 PM

JUST IN: 'This appears to me, from what I've viewed and the officer's reaction and distress immediately after, that this was an accidental discharge that resulted in the tragic death of Mr. Wright,' police chief says about fatal police shooting.

The police chief in a Minneapolis suburb where a Black man was fatally shot during a traffic stop says he believes the officer who fired intended to use a Taser, not a handgun

The Associated PressA man sits near a circle around a memorial for Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, Minn., Sunday, April 11, 2021. Wright's family told a crowd that he was shot by police Sunday before getting back into his car and driving away, then crashing the vehicle several blocks away. The family said Wright was later pronounced dead. (Carlos Gonzalez/Star Tribune via AP)

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BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. -- The police chief in a Minneapolis suburb where a Black man was fatally shot during a traffic stop said Monday that he believes the officer who fired intended to use a Taser, not a handgun.Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon described the shooting as “an accidental discharge.” The state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension was investigating.

Daunte Wright, 20, died Sunday in a metropolitan area that was already on edge because of the trial of the first of four police officers charged in George Floyd’s death.Gannon said at a news conference that the officer made a mistake, and he released body camera footage from the officer who fired. The footage showed three officers around a stopped car. When another officer attempts to handcuff Wright, a struggle ensues. The officer is heard shouting “Taser!” several times before firing her weapon. headtopics.com

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

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz tweeted that he was praying for Wright’s family “as our state mourns another life of a Black man taken by law enforcement.”Speaking before the unrest, Wright's mother, Katie Wright, urged protesters to stay peaceful and focused on the loss of her son.

“All the violence, if it keeps going, it’s only going to be about the violence. We need it to be about why my son got shot for no reason,” she said to a crowd near the shooting scene in Brooklyn Center, a city of about 30,000 people on the northwest border of Minneapolis. “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.”

Protesters who gathered near the scene waved flags and signs reading “Black Lives Matter.” Others walked peacefully with their hands held up. On one street, someone wrote in multi-colored chalk: “Justice for Daunte Wright.”Katie Wright said her son called her as he was getting pulled over. headtopics.com

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“All he did was have air fresheners in the car, and they told him to get out of the car,” Wright said. During the call, she said she heard scuffling and then someone saying “Daunte, don’t run” before the call ended. When she called back, her son’s girlfriend answered and said he had been shot.

Authorities said the car was pulled over for having expired registration and after determining the driver had an outstanding warrant, police said they tried to arrest him. Then the driver reentered the vehicle, and an officer fired, striking him, police said. The vehicle traveled several blocks before striking another vehicle.

Wright’s family offered a different account, with Katie Wright saying her son was shot before getting back into the car.A female passenger sustained non-life-threatening injuries during the crash, authorities said. Katie Wright said that passenger was her son’s girlfriend.

Court records show Wright was being sought after failing to appear in court on charges that he fled from officers and possessed a gun without a permit during an encounter with Minneapolis police in June. In that case, a statement of probable cause said police got a call about a man waving a gun who was later identified as Wright.” headtopics.com

Shortly after the shooting, demonstrators began to gather, with some jumping atop police cars. Marchers also descended on the Brooklyn Center Police Department, where rocks and other objects were thrown at officers, authorities said. The protesters had largely dispersed by 1:15 a.m. Monday.

PresidentJoe Bidenwas briefed on the shooting, and the White House has been in touch with the governor, mayor and local law enforcement, White House 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.

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National Guard troops and law enforcement officers continued to guard the front of the police department on Monday morning. Police were erecting a concrete barrier as Minnesota State Patrol officers joined the line in front of the precinct.Several people and reporters watched from across the street as traffic returned to normal on the street where protesters were met with tear gas the night before. One man yelled at the officers using a megaphone as others flew Black Lives Matter flags.

About 20 businesses were broken into at the city’s Shingle Creek shopping center, Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said at a news conference.The National Guard was activated, and Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott announced a curfew that expired shortly before daybreak.

Police said Brooklyn Center officers wear body cameras, which they believe were activated during the traffic stop.The trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis officer charged in Floyd’s death, continued Monday. Floyd, a Black man, died May 25 after Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck. Prosecutors say Floyd was pinned for 9 minutes, 29 seconds.

More National Guard members and state law enforcement personnel were to be deployed around the Twin Cities and in Brooklyn Center in addition to teams already in place for Chauvin’s trial at the Hennepin County courthouse in Minneapolis, Harrington said.

There was no visible increase in the already high security presence on Monday morning outside the courthouse, which was fortified ahead of Chauvin’s trial with tall fencing topped with barbed wire and coils of razor wire between the fences and concrete barriers. National Guard troops with military vehicles, sheriff’s deputies and county security guards continued to stand watch.

Meanwhile, all Brooklyn Center students were to attend online classes Monday because school buildings were closed, Superintendent Carly Baker said.——— Read more: ABC News »

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If you’re the leader then you should have taught your officers the difference between a gun and a taser. What kind of training do they even get! God Bless this Chief and all the police in this city! He’s a joke. I hope he’s fired. Relly bro no real face move too peo why needed safety from my best Near country face crimes man's a fill near all police placed the movement fill why this session

Bull shit Take a racist cover-up opportunity to make a second racist intolerance statement. Why is he even spouting his opinion at this time?!! FireTimGannon So now as long as they pretend it was an accident, it's ok? Isn't that was manslaughter charge is for? Sorry, can’t hear you. I have either a phone or a gun in my ear.

What the actual hell?

Wow! The police chief is judge, jury and executioner. Case closed? Even if it was an accident, this officer unlawfully killed Mr. Wright. So in essence...'whoopsie. I thought I grabbed by taser and instead grabbed my service weapon.' IYDGTFOHWTBS Emotional? Let see how the family members of the deceased feel right now...

Bullshit. Boo hoo!!! Now the press garnering sympathy for chief WTAF? Honesty is expected! You are the leader do the police dept. Your officer made a careless mistake that cost the life on someone. Ain’t good enough son...

Distressed won’t bring back a life. 😞 I am so tired of hear officers holler ‘I thought, he looked like,I meant to fire the taser’ so much uncertainty. What other profession allows for such uncertainty?BlackLivesMatter kenkircher1 You can tolerate constant police use excessive force, and killing unarmed citizens, but not destruction of property. Got it. bullshit EnoughIsEnough PoliceBrutality PoliceReformNow

Accidental discharge? Is that a new term for murder? A hand gun is 5 times heavier then a taser , how did this idiot become a cop , or is he just a damn liar . Earn $ 700 with a minimum investment of $ 50 in 8 hours with the miner Mr Joe Howard No withdrawal fee is required. Join and start earning now 💰💰 .. 👇👇👇👇👇👇👇👇👇👇👇

A scary ass fkn cop with a gun “He was just having a bad day” That CAUCASIAN cop didn’t shoot the unarmed BLACK young man by mistake. Her actions are a clear indication that WHITE cops are TRAINED to shoot FIRST when dealing with BLACK people (boys/men in particular). WCCO Fire from the top down, start w/ Gannon

This PC needs to step aside and let someone else answer questions. He is on the defensive and it's not a good look. Digging a deeper hole. 'responded in kind' is NOT an answer for how you de-escalate an event. kenkircher1 be patient, we'll be on to killing another POC asap.

Wow, that was a fast investigation! ....c’mon people, move along... nothing to see here BS Just wondering if a 'citizen' would afforded that 'reasoning' if the roles were reversed? So it was an accident that he engaged his firearm and shot at the man at close range killing him Is anyone supposed to believe that a TRAINED professional made a boo boo? And if so we better take the guns away from these IDIOTS

Not buying what you are selling. The officer didn't know the difference between a taser and his handgun? Why was he still on the force if he can't tell the difference? DID THEY NAME THE KILLER PIG? Let Minneapolis burn. They’re all fucking murderers. Listen to him stick up for his goon. There is no such thing as a good cop.

That's very easy, and self-serving, after the fact. Sort of another take on the 'I-was-just-joking' defense. The actual evidence needs to be consistent with his explanation, or it could point elsewhere.

Very distressing shooting someone, but the dead someone isn't feeling too good WhitePrivilege syndrome kicked in... A few bad cops are an embarrassment to the law enforcement profession. A guy who doesn't know his gun from his taser, should have neither a gun or a taser, or a badge!! Why did he have other weapon out?

He drew his gun. He pointed it at the victim. His finger was on the trigger. The safety was off. He fired the gun. Accident? Multiple accidents? wasn't that boy joyridin in a car he just jacked? u got to be kidding me accidental....smh Police chief is a ass. When will the ppl fight back ? How many more murders will it take?

Fire him! Officers aren’t allowed to have accidents. Clearly they cost people their lives!

Wtf!! yeah no. nice so then this guy should never have been on the force if he doesnt know the difference or what side it is on. Nah,not gonna fly 😏 People lie.