Minnesota officer meant to fire Taser, not handgun, in deadly Daunte Wright shooting, police chief says

Minnesota officer meant to fire Taser, not handgun, in deadly Daunte Wright shooting, police chief says

A police chief in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, released body camera footage of the officer-involved shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright on Monday, classifying the incident as an “accidental discharge.”

Chief Tim Gannon of the Brooklyn Center Police Department said he believes the officer, who has yet to be identified, intended to reach for a Taser but instead grabbed her service weapon and fired a single bullet. Both the chief and Mayor Mike Elliott declined to release the officer’s name at this time, but said the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension would soon release information on all parties involved.

On Monday, at least 500 Minnesota National Guard personnel were activated across the Twin Cities in support of Operation Safety Net during Derek Chauvin’s trial – a figure that is expected to rise following Sunday’s fatal police shooting in Brooklyn Center.

The murder trial of Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in George Floyd’s death, resumed Monday for the third week, and Operation Safety Net was already scheduled to enter Phase 3 ahead of closing arguments and jury deliberation. However, that plan was accelerated in order to quell what had devolved into violent protests over Wright’s shooting earlier Sunday.

After an unidentified officer fatally shot Wright during a traffic stop just 10 miles from where Chauvin had Floyd pinned to the pavement last May, the Minneapolis area erupted in looting and rioting late Sunday. Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott has issued a citywide curfew until 6 a.m. CT Monday.

Approximately 500 people had gathered overnight outside of a city police precinct and clashed with officers.

“Our entire community is in mourning following the officer-involved shooting of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old young man, today. Our hearts go out to his family and all those in our community who have been affected by this tragedy “Elliott made the announcement in a statement. “While we await additional information from the BCA [Bureau of Criminal Apprehension] who is leading the investigation, we continue to ask that members of our community gathering do so peacefully, amid our calls for transparency and accountability.”

Elliott addressed those “filled with grief” in a statement released at 2 a.m. CT, stating that the mayor would continue to support “peaceful gatherings.” He has scheduled a news conference for 11 a.m. CT Monday at Brooklyn Center City Hall to provide more information.

Leaders of Operation Safety Net will provide a public safety update at 2 p.m. CT Monday.

He stated in a tweet, “We want to make certain that everyone is safe. Please be safe and return home.”

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said he was “closely monitoring the situation” and “praying for Daunte Wright’s family as our state mourns another life of a Black man taken by law enforcement.”

Although Brooklyn Center Police did not immediately identify Wright or reveal his race, some protesters gathered nearby waved flags and signs reading “Black Lives Matter.” “Justice for Daunte Wright.” was written in multicolored chalk on one street.

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Brooklyn Center Police said in a statement that officers stopped an individual shortly before 2 p.m. Sunday. Police attempted to arrest the driver after discovering he had an outstanding warrant. However, the driver re-entered the vehicle and drove away, according to police. A police officer opened fire on the vehicle, striking the driver. According to police, the vehicle traveled several blocks before colliding with another vehicle. A female passenger was injured but not seriously.

Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington described how demonstrators gathered shortly after the shooting and crash, with some jumping on top of police cars and confronting officers, during a press conference. According to him, marchers also descended on the Brooklyn Center Police Department building, where rocks and other objects were thrown at officers.

By 1:15 a.m. Monday, the demonstrators had mostly dispersed. Harrington went on to say that about 20 businesses in the city’s Shingle Creek shopping center had been broken into. He stated that law enforcement agencies were working together to quell the unrest and that the National Guard had been activated.

Journalist Andy Ngo shared a video of BLM protesters rioting over what he described as a police-involved shooting of a suspected gang member.

Demonstrators marched to the Brooklyn Center police headquarters near North 67th and North Humboldt avenues on Sunday evening, where they pushed past police tape and confronted officers in riot gear, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Officers repeatedly ordered the group of about 500 protesters to disperse, and then used tear gas, flashbangs, and rubber bullets on them. Graffiti covered the police headquarters sign, which was later climbed by protesters chanting Wright’s name.

Troops from the National Guard arrived before midnight. Looters targeted the Brooklyn Center Walmart, as well as a nearby Foot Locker, T Mobile, and a New York men’s clothing store. Looting spread into north and south Minneapolis late Sunday night and early Monday morning, with stores in Uptown and along Lake Street also being broken into and emptied.

Troops from the National Guard arrived before midnight. Looters targeted the Brooklyn Center Walmart, as well as a nearby Foot Locker, T Mobile, and a New York men's clothing store. Looting spread into north and south Minneapolis late Sunday night and early Monday morning, with stores in Uptown and along Lake Street also being broken into and emptied.

Around 8 p.m., a police station in another neighboring city, Brooklyn Park, was “shot up” Fox 9 Minneapolis reported on Sunday. Multiple rounds were fired through the glass front doors of the building, with some of the bullets landing in the lobby. There were no reported injuries.

The attack resembled the unrest that followed Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020, when the Minneapolis Police Department’s 3rd precinct was burned. Protesters piled debris inside the building and set it on fire while chanting Floyd’s name at the time.

Tensions in the region are high as Chauvin’s trial, the former Minneapolis officer charged in Floyd’s death, enters its third week on Monday in Minneapolis. Harrington stated that more National Guard members would be stationed throughout Minneapolis and in Brooklyn Center.

Daunte Wright’s mother, Katie Wright, huddled with loved ones near the scene of the shooting in the 6300 block of Orchard Avenue in Brooklyn Center, pleading for her son’s body to be removed from the street, according to the Star Tribune.

She stated that her son called her as he was being pulled over and that she heard scuffling before the call ended. When she returned her call, she stated that his girlfriend informed her that Daunte Wright had been shot.

Carolyn Hanson, who lives near the crash site, told the newspaper that she witnessed officers pulling the man out of the car and performing CPR on him. According to Hanson, one of the passengers who escaped was covered in blood.

The Brooklyn Center Police Department said it had requested an investigation from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Body cameras are worn by Brooklyn Center officers, and dash cameras are believed to have been activated during the incident, according to police.