BCPD: Fatal Police Shooting of Duante Wright Was an ‘Accident’, Body Camera Footage Released [VIDEO]
Minneapolis suburban Brooklyn Center Police Department says that the fatal shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright by a police officer on Sunday was an accident.
The female officer who shot Wright, a senior officer on the force, and who is still unidentified, seemingly mistook her handgun for a Taser gun BCPD Chief Tim Gannon told reporters on Monday during a news conference.
Wright was shot by police on Sunday during a traffic stop. Chief Gannon said that Wright, with his girlfriend in the car with him, was pulled over for driving with an expired tag. During a check for wants and warrants, officers discovered Wright had an open warrant for his arrest. When they tried to take Wright into custody, he began to struggle with the officers and was shot after he got back into his car.
The police chief shared the body camera footage from the deadly incident with reporters during a news conference.
The video shows an officer attempting to cuff Wright right off to the side of his white Buick. After the officer told Wright there’s a warrant out for his arrest, then says “don’t do it” right before Wright uses force to break free from the officer’s hold, he gets back into the car. That’s when a struggle ensued.
It is at that point when you hear another officer repeatedly shout, “I’ll tase you” and “Taser!” while pointing a handgun instead of a Taser. She fired the weapon, and that’s when you hear the officer curse, then say, “I just shot him” as if in shock at what just happened. In other words, it seems apparent to me from the video that the officer didn’t want to shoot Wright with a pistol and was shocked to realize she did.
The chief at that point told reporters that the officer mistakenly pulled her handgun instead of her Taser and shot Wright.
“As you can hear, the officer, while struggling with Mr. Wright, shouts ‘Taser, Taser’ several times. That is part of the officer’s training prior to deploying a Taser, which is a less-lethal device,” he said. “That is done to make her partners aware, as well as the subject, that a Taser deployment will be imminent.
“As I watch the video and listen to the officer’s commands, it is my belief that the officer had the intention to deploy their Taser, but instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet,” Gannon said.
After he was shot, Wright took off in the car and drove several blocks before hitting another vehicle. According to police, he died at the scene.
I feel bad for Wright’s family. He had a warrant out for his arrest and he resisted arrest, which is what escalated the situation, but he didn’t deserve to die, even by accident. This whole thing is a tragedy that never should have happened, but people need to remember that there was no malice involved. It was a fatal mistake that cost a life and that has to be dealt with.
The police chief declared the shooting an “accidental discharge that resulted in the tragic death of Mr. Wright.”
Gannon didn’t identify the officer as is policy when a shooting incident is under investigation by Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
“The information on the officer is that she’s a very senior officer, that’s the extent that I can do,” Gannon told reporters.
Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott said some words during the news conference telling reporters that he fully supports firing the police officer who shot and killed Wright.
“My position is that we cannot afford to make mistakes that lead to the loss of life of other people in our profession,” Elliott said. “So I do fully support releasing the officer from her duties.
“She will not be returning to duty until this investigation has run its course and she, for all intents and purposes, I think we can look at the video and ascertain whether or not she’ll be returning,” he added.
A riot broke out after news of the shooting hit and posted videos appeared on social media where rioters jumped up and down on police vehicles and twenty businesses were broken into at the city’s Shingle Creek shopping center, according to Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington. It got out of control and so the National Guard was called in to shut things down.
The officer who shot Wright is now on administrative leave until, for all intents and purposes, she will be relieved from duty.
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