Little is known about the female police officer who shot and killed Daunte Wright, but the Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, police chief said it’s not true that she died of suicide.
The officer was named as Kim Potter, the police union president. You can read more about her here.
The false rumor of her suicide took root on Facebook and Twitter the evening of the shooting. It appeared to trace to a Facebook post by a woman who claimed her father is a police officer. That woman falsely claimed that the officer killed herself; she did, however, also correctly say that the officer mistakenly thought she was using a Taser before that information was publicly known.
Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon played video of the shooting from a body-worn camera during an April 12, 2021, press conference, in which he revealed that, in fact, the officer mistakenly shot Wright, thinking she was using a Taser when she actually used a firearm. She did not die by suicide, he said, debunking the false social media rumor. Instead, he said, she is on administrative leave while the shooting death is investigated.
“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.
The mayor of Brooklyn Center called for the officer to be fired. You can watch the bodycam footage below, but be aware that it’s very disturbing.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Officer Yelled, ‘I’ll Tase You’ but Used Her Gun Instead
The bodycam 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.
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 s***, I just shot him,” she says. The bodycam 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 Said Wright Was Stopped for Expired Tags
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. The death triggered further tensions in a city currently dealing with the Derek Chauvin trial in a city located only 15 minutes from where George Floyd died.
Before Potter’s name was released, Brooklyn Center City Manager Curt Boganey said it 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.
“I’m the leader of this department. They expect me to lead. Create a safe city. That’s what I’m trying to do. So that’s it. … Yeah, I’m emotional. I’m just trying to be honest,” the police chief said in the news conference.
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