Update: 2 p.m.
Video footage from a police officer’s body camera captured the moments where Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old suburban Minneapolis man, was fatally wounded in a traffic stop and citizens are demanding accountability on the part of the police department involved.
Wright was killed Sunday when he was stopped by officers in Brooklyn Center, Minn., for expired tags. He reportedly had an outstanding warrant and was ordered out of his vehicle. But he attempted to re-enter the vehicle and when he did, an officer pulled out a weapon and opened fire. Wright drove several blocks, but crashed into another car. Officers attempted life saving techniques, but he died at the scene. A female passenger sustained non-life-threatening injuries in the crash.
The officer, whose name has not been released, has been placed on administrative leave.
At an intense press conference, Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon showed the body camera footage of the incident. In the traffic stop, the officer can be heard shouting “taser, taser” but instead she pulled her service weapon and fired. Gannon described the shooting as an “accidental discharge.” The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has begun an investigation.
Gannon said that he is not aware of a gun being found in the vehicle.
Wright’s mother, Katie Wright, said that her son had called her as he was being pulled over. “All he did was have air fresheners in the car, and they told him to get out of the car,” she said. While she was on the call with her son, she said she heard a scuffle and someone saying “Daunte, don’t run.” But when she called back, Wright’s girlfriend answered and said he had been shot.
Peaceful protests ensued as news spread over the shooting, however unrest grew overnight in Brooklyn Center and several retail outlets were damaged from looting. Wright’s mother called for the violence to stop.
“All the violence, if it keeps going, it’s only going to be about the violence. We need it to be about why my son got shot for no reason,” she said to protesters near the shooting scene, according to the Associated Press.
Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott pledged to “get to the bottom of this” but did not say whether or not the officer would be fired, but that he did support her termination.
Gannon said the officer is a “very senior officer” without offering more information on her. “It is my belief that the officer had the intention to employ their taser, but instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet.”
The events of Sunday, which Elliot said “could not have come at a worse time” emerged in the shadow of the Derek Chauvin trial in which George Floyd died while being restrained by officers and while Chauvin knelt on his neck. He is charged with second and third degree murder and manslaughter. The prosecution is expected to wrap up its case in the next day or so.
A 20-year-old is dead after a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, not far from where the Derek Chauvin trial is taking place.
On the afternoon of April 11, Daunte Wright was stopped by Brooklyn Center police, which is a neighboring town of Minneapolis. According to The Washington Post, Wright had an outstanding warrant and police tried to arrest him. The 20-year-old allegedly reentered his vehicle and drove away, which is when police shot at the car, striking Wright.
He drove off and crashed into several cars. Wright was pulled out of the car and CPR was performed.
Police did not reveal the name of the victim but protesters have flooded the streets, demanding accountability.
The Washington Post reports Wright’s mother, Katie Wright, also confirmed her son was the victim. She said her son called her when he was pulled over and she heard a scuffle. When she arrived at the scene, his girlfriend said he had been shot.
Wright says she begged that her son’s body be removed from the street.
The time of Daunte Wright’s death is not known.
Mayor Mike Elliott said a news conference on the incident will be held on Monday (April 12).
USA Today also reports Daunte Wright’s mother said he was originally pulled over not for a warrant but for air fresheners hanging in his rearview mirror.