State Watch

Police say officer meant to use Taser on Minnesota shooting victim

The officer who fatally shot Daunte Wright did so after mistakenly pulling her gun instead of her Taser on the 20-year-old after police stopped his car, the Brooklyn Center, Minn., police chief said Monday.

“It appeared to me, from the video, that the individual was trying to get back into his car to leave,” Police Chief Tim Gannon said. “It is my belief that the officer had the intention to deploy their Taser, but instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet.”

In the released body cam footage, three officers approached Wright’s car after pulling him over for expired license tags. Officials said that after obtaining Wright’s ID, officers discovered there was an outstanding warrant out for his arrest.

The video shows that when two of the officers attempted to arrest Wright and place him in handcuffs, he appears to have tried to get back into his car.

An officer can then be heard shouting “Tase him” multiple times after Wright, in handcuffs, gets back into his car’s driver seat. In the video, an officer points a gun at Wright as he grabs the steering wheel and shouts “Sh*t!” and then appears to drop her handgun.

The officer then can be heard stating, “I just shot him.”

Gannon said that he could not explicitly say what was going through the officer’s head, but that it looked as though it was an “accidental discharge,” based on his experience and training.

Gannon also stated that officers receive “numerous trainings throughout the year” that deal with tactics, firearms and Taser deployment.

“We have a pretty thorough Taser re-qualifications on a yearly basis, but then we also do a number of scenarios in role-playing exercises as well,” he said.

The police chief appeared to become overwhelmed during the press conference, stepping away from the podium at one point before being beckoned by Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott to answer further questions.

“I’m used to doing the handoff with the [Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA)] and I apologize for that. Normally, the BCA steps in and they do a lot of the talk about the investigations. That’s what I’m used to,” Gannon said.

“Please realize in an officer-involved shooting what happens is I have no contact with that investigation because I don’t want to taint that investigation,” he added.

–Updated at 2:20 p.m.

Tags Brooklyn Center Daunte Wright Minnesota police shooting

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