BROOKLYN CENTER, April 12 (AP) - The police officer who fatally shot a black man during a traffic stop in a Minneapolis suburb apparently intended to fire a Taser, not a handgun, as the man struggled with police, the city’s police chief said on Monday (Apr 12).
Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon described the shooting death on Sunday of 20-year-old Daunte Wright as “an accidental discharge". It happened as police were trying to arrest Wright on an outstanding warrant. The shooting sparked violent protests in a metropolitan area already on edge because of the trial of the first of four police officers charged in George Floyd’s death.
“I'll Tase you! I'll Tase you! Taser! Taser! Taser!” the officer is heard shouting on her body cam footage released at a news conference. She draws her weapon after the man breaks free from police outside his car and gets back behind the wheel.
After firing a single shot from her handgun, the car speeds away, and the officer is heard saying, “Holy shit! I shot him.”
President Joe Biden urged calm on Monday, following a night where officers in riot gear clashed with demonstrators. The president said he watched the body camera footage.
The governor instituted another dusk-to-dawn curfew, and law enforcement agencies stepped up their presence across the Minneapolis area. The number of Minnesota National Guard troops was expected to more than double to over 1,000 by Monday night.
The trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis officer charged in Floyd’s death, continued on 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 and 29 seconds.