Graphic body cam video released by the Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, police chief in a news conference appears to back up his contention that the unidentified female officer who shot Daunte Wright mistakenly thought she was using her taser.
Instead, she used her handgun and shot Wright at close range, killing him, the video reveals. You can watch it later in this article, but be aware that it’s disturbing. Police Chief Tim Gannon released the portion of body cam video in an April 12, 2021, press conference. The officer’s name has not been released and she is on administrative leave.
The officer was named as Kim Potter, the police union president. You can read more about her here.
Wright, 20, the father of a young child, did not have a gun in the car, the chief said. Gannon revealed that Wright was stopped for having expired tags on his car.
“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,” the chief said in the news conference. “This appears to me, from what I viewed, and the officer’s reaction in distress immediately after, that this was an accidental discharge.”
He added that “my heart goes out to Daunte’s family.” He called the shooting “heartbreaking and unfathomable” and promised “transparency and accountability.”
The mayor of Brooklyn Center, Mike Elliott, called for the officer to be fired. You can watch the body cam footage below, but be aware that it’s very disturbing. “My position is that we can not afford to make mistakes that lead to the loss of life of other people in our profession so I do fully support releasing the officer of her duties,” the mayor said.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Officer Yelled, ‘I’ll Tase You’ But Used Her Gun Instead
The body cam video shows Wright’s car pulled over to the side of the road. Two male police officers approach it, one on either side. Wright is asked to step out of the vehicle and does. It starts at about 1:20 into the above video.
A male officer starts handcuffing him from behind. Gannon said he was being arrested for an outstanding misdemeanor warrant. At that time, you see the female officer approach. She puts her hands on Wright to assist the male officer in taking him into custody.
At that time, he breaks away from the officers and tries to get back into his car. A struggle ignites. “I’ll tase you! I’ll tase you!” she shouts to Wright in the video, weapon drawn. “Taser, taser, taser!”
But when she fires, it’s her firearm, not her taser. “Holy sh*t, I just shot him,” she says. The body cam video shared with the public ended there.
The shooting death sparked protests and riots with numerous stores looted on the evening of April 11.
Gannon called the officer a very senior officer. “She has the right to be heard. She has the right to give her statement. She has a right to tell what she felt, what she thought. Not what I thought. Not what I saw. But what she thought,” he said. “She will not be returning to duty until this investigation has run its course and she, for all intents and purposes, I think we can look at the video and ascertain whether or not she’ll be returning.”
“As you can hear, the officer while struggling with Mr. Wright shouts, ‘Taser, Taser’ several times. That is a part of the officer’s training prior to deploying a Taser, which is a less lethal device. That is done to make her partners aware, as well as the subject, that a Taser deployment will be imminent. During this encounter, however, the officer drew their handgun instead of their Taser,” Gannon explained
The City Manager Said the Officer’s Name Will Be Released ‘Shortly’
City Manager Curt Boganey said the officer’s name would be released “shortly.”
“We have every intent to release that information as quickly as possible… There’s no reason or desire to withhold that information any longer than absolutely necessary,” he said.
Gannon revealed the reason for the traffic stop.
“The tags were expired. Upon arrival when the officer made contact, at that time when he walked up to the car he discovered there was a hanging item from the rearview mirror. So there was a contact that the officer went up there initially for, obtained his ID, or his name, he walked back to his car and at that time he ran his name and he found out that he had a warrant. That’s why they removed him from the car and they were making custodial arrest,” said Gannon.
That contradicted information from Wright’s mother, who told reporters that she believed he was stopped because of the air fresheners. Wright, 20, was the father of a young child. The chief said he did not believe Wright had any weapon in his vehicle.
READ NEXT: Learn More About Daunte Wright.