Bodycam footage from the fatal shooting of a black man in Minneapolis reveals the moment a female officer accidentally shot him while trying to use a Taser.
Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said the officer who fired the fatal shot had intended to use a Taser – not a handgun.
Speaking at a news briefing today, a tearful Gannon described the shooting as an “accidental discharge”.
He said the officer will “not be returning to duty until the investigation has run its course”.
The cop‘s identity was not disclosed and Gannon described her only as “a very senior officer”.
Bodycam footage presented at the news briefing showed a struggle between Wright and the officer.
Wright then got back into the car and an officer could be heard yelling “Taser, Taser.”
“This appears to me, from what I viewed and the officers‘ reaction and distress immediately after, that this was an accidental discharge that resulted in the tragic death of Mr. Wright,” Gannon told reporters.
Gannon said the investigation was in its early stages and based on a preliminary police review of the video evidence.
The mayor of the Minneapolis suburb vowed to “get to the bottom” of why police shot Wright – while acknowledging that the death came at a time the community was on edge with the trial of Derek Chauvin underway nearby.
“I want to say that our hearts are aching right now,” Brooklyn Park Mayor Mike Elliott told the briefing.
“We are in pain right now. And we recognise that this couldn‘t have happened at a worse time.”
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey declared a state of emergency this afternoon and imposed a 7pm to 6am curfew following widespread rioting and looting on Sunday in response to the shooting.
“The anguish we are suffering cannot translate into violence,” he said.
“Destroying livelihoods, destroying locally owned businesses that our communities have poured their hearts and souls into for decades… that will not be tolerated.”
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the Biden administration was “incredibly saddened to hear about the loss of life at the hands of law enforcement”.
“It is a reminder of the pain, the anger, the trauma, the exhaustion that many communities across the country have felt,” she said.
Last night, Wright’s sobbing mother Katie told a crowd how her son called her to say he had been pulled over by police because of an air freshener that was dangling from his rear view mirror.
She said she heard officers tell her son to put his phone down, and then one of the officers ended the call.
What we know so far:
- Wright was shot dead by a police officer shortly before 2pm on April 11
- Cops said officers pulled Wright over for a traffic violation, discovered he had an outstanding warrant and tried to arrest him
- Bodycam footage showed a struggle between Wright and an officer before he was shot dead in the car
- A female passenger in the car suffered ‘non-life-threatening injuries’
- Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said the officer who fired the fatal shot had intended to use a Taser
- The identity of the “very senior officer” has not been disclosed
- Wright’s mother claims her son was pulled over because he had an air freshener dangling from his rear view mirror
- About 20 businesses were looted at a local mall after hundreds of people took to the streets to protest following the shooting
- Cops said the investigation into the shooting is in its “early stages”
Soon after, her son‘s girlfriend told her he had been shot.
She told reporters: “All he did was have air fresheners in the car and they told him to get out of the car.
“He got out of the car and his girlfriend said they shot him.”
According to a statement from the Brooklyn Center Police Department, officers pulled Wright over for a traffic violation.
When they discovered he had an outstanding warrant, they tried to take him into custody.
He got back into his car, and one of the officers shot him dead.
A female passenger in the car suffered “non-life-threatening injuries” and was transported to a local hospital, the statement said, which did not identify the woman.
Hundreds of people took to the streets on Sunday following the shooting with police firing teargas and flash bangs to disperse the mob.
Photos from the protest showed men stomping on the windshield of a police cruiser.
By around midnight local time, the National Guard was on the scene and Brooklyn Center mayor Mike Elliott imposed a curfew from 1am this morning until 6am.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday, John Harrington, the state‘s commissioner of public safety, reported “rocks and other objects thrown at the police department”.
He added that officers were sent to the scene and the crowd had mostly dispersed.
About 20 businesses were looted at a local mall, he said.
Speaking today, Gannon said the cops “cannot tolerate” looting and destruction in the wake of the officer-involved shooting.
This article originally appeared in The Sun and was republished with permission