Police mistakenly fired a handgun at 20-year-old Daunte Wright rather than a taser, Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon revealed in a press conference on Monday (April 12). The conference followed a night of protests in the Minnesota city after police fatally shot Wright during a traffic stop.
During the conference, Gannon said the shooting was “an accidental discharge” and that one police officer shouted, “Taser!” during the confrontation with Wright. However, the officer “drew their handgun instead” of the non-lethal stun gun, Gannon said.
“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.
“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.”
The chief reiterated that the shooting is currently under investigation by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
“Our hearts are aching right now,” Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott said. “… We are all collectively devastated and we have been for over a year now by the killing of George Floyd… So, having a police-involved shooting happen in our community and killing a young man is heartbreaking and just unfathomable.”
As reported by REVOLT, Wright’s mother said police pulled him over because he had air fresheners hanging from his rearview mirror. According to police, the officers then realized Wright had outstanding warrants and attempted to take him into custody. When he got back into his car, one officer shot him. Wright then drove several blocks before crashing into another car and passing away.
“He didn’t deserve to be shot and killed like this,” his mother, Katie Wright, told WCCO.
Last night, the Minnesota National Guard was deployed after protesters marched to the Brooklyn Center Police Department to demand justice for Wright’s death. Police have confirmed that body camera footage from the shooting exists, but it has not yet been released to the public. See a clip from Monday’s press conference below.