(MINNESOTA) — The officer accused of shooting and killing Daunte Wright meant to use a Taser as he fled arrest Sunday afternoon, according to police.
Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said Monday that the officer — identified by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension as Kim Potter — intended to deploy her Taser when she “accidentally” shot the 20-year-old Wright.
Gannon adds the incident unfolded Sunday afternoon after officers pulled Wright over for a traffic violation for driving with an expired registration tag. During the stop, officers discovered he had an outstanding gross misdemeanor warrant.
Gannon says, “At one point as officers were attempting to take the driver into custody, the driver re-entered the vehicle… One officer discharged their firearm, striking the driver.”
According to released body camera footage, the officer involved in the shooting is overheard warning her fellow officers and Wright that she would be deploying her Taser.
“However, the officer drew their handgun instead of their Taser… It is my belief that the officer had the intention to deploy their Taser, but instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet,” said Gannon. “This appears to me, from what I 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 body camera footage captured the officer’s reaction upon discharging the weapon, saying, “, “Holy s***, I just shot him.”
Wright fled the scene and crashed the vehicle he was driving a few blocks over, where he died from his injuries pertaining to the gunshot. Officers “attempted life saving measures” but were unsuccessful in reviving him.
The officer has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation, but Gannon identified her as a “very senior member.”
According to Wright’s mother, Katie Wright, she described her son as a young man who “had a whole life ahead of him.”
“We just want people to know Daunte was a good kid,” Wright’s family said in a statement. “He loved being a father to Daunte Jr.”
Wright’s family has retained civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who is also representing George Floyd’s family in the ongoing trial against ex-officer Derek Chauvin. Crump has previously represented for Trayvon Martin and Breonna Taylor’s families, as well.
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