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Chief: We Think Cop Pulled Gun on Daunte Wright Accidentally

Police chief believes unnamed female cop meant to draw her Taser
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 12, 2021 3:13 PM CDT

(Newser) – The gunshot that killed Daunte Wright during a Sunday afternoon traffic stop near Minneapolis is being called an "accidental discharge." Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said Monday that "it is my belief that the officer had their intention to deploy the Taser but instead shot" the 20-year-old Black man one time. Gannon said he arrived at that conclusion after watching about a minute of footage captured by a body camera; that footage was released Monday. Gannon said the video shows that as Wright tries to get back in his vehicle as police are cuffing him, a female officer yells "Taser, Taser," as she would have learned to do during training. "That is done to make her partners aware, as well as the subject," Gannon said, noting she then pulled her handgun instead of her Taser. The AP reports the officer fired one shot. More:

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  • Wright sped away and drove for a few blocks before crashing into another car. The officer then says "Holy s---! I shot him." 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 a tragic death of Mr. Wright."
  • The female officer, who Gannon says is "very senior," has not been named. "I think we can watch the video and ascertain whether she will be returning," he added. She has been placed on administrative leave.
  • Officials said the car was pulled over for having an expired tags; police ran Wright's info and learned he had an outstanding gross misdemeanor warrant. That was apparently connected to a June incident with Minneapolis police in which Wright was accused of having a gun without a permit and fleeing officers.
  • Wright's mother, Katie, identified the female passenger who was in the car at the time of the shooting as Wright's girlfriend. She sustained non-life-threatening injuries in the crash.
  • The New York Times reports Katie Wright said he son called her after being pulled over. "He said they pulled him over because he had air fresheners hanging from his rearview mirror," she said. She added that his family had given him the car he was driving two weeks prior.
  • Bernice King tweeted this Monday: "If your response to the death of a 20 year-old Black man, who was pulled over by police for an air freshener violation, is "he should have complied," you don’t understand the fear that Daunte was likely feeling in his encounter with police 10 miles from the Derek Chauvin trial."
(Read more Daunte Wright stories.)

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