MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — During a press conference Monday afternoon, officials in Brooklyn Center released body camera footage of the fatal police shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright.
The body camera shows police approaching Wright’s vehicle and asking him to step out of the car. They attempt to handcuff him before he pulls away and gets back into his driver’s seat.
The officer whose body camera footage was shown pulls out a gun while shouting “Taser.”
After firing the gun, the officer says, “Holy s**t, I just shot him.”
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension identified that officer Monday evening as Kim Potter, a 26-year veteran with the Brooklyn Center Police Department.
“As I watched 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,” Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said. “This appears to me from what I viewed and the officer’s reaction in distress immediately after that this was an accidental discharge that resulted in the tragic death of Mr. Wright.”
Gannon said Wright was pulled over for expired tabs, and that’s when officers discovered there was a warrant out for his arrest for having a firearm without a permit. Wright did not have a gun on him at the time he was pulled over, according to the chief.
Later in the press conference, Gannon was asked if he believed Officer Potter should be terminated. He said she deserves due process, but also said, “I think we can look at the video and ascertain whether she’ll be returning.”
Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott said during the press conference he supports Potter’s firing. Later Monday, Elliott tweeted that the Brooklyn Center City Council, of which he is one of five members, voted to give him command authority over the police department.
“At such a tough time, this will streamline things and establish a chain of command and leadership,” he said.
Elliott also tweeted that the city manager has been fired. Later Monday evening, the city council voted in favor of banning its police officers from using rubber bullets and chemical irritants like tear gas for crowd control — a move made right in the midst of law enforcement using such weapons on protesters outside of the police department building for the second night in a row. The crowd confinement technique called “kettling” was also banned.
Officer Potter has been placed on administrative leave and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating Wright’s death. Sources tell WCCO Monday night that Potter will be represented by attorney Earl Gray. He is currently representing ex-Minneapolis police officer Thomas Lane, who was involved in the deadly arrest of George Floyd last year. Gray also represented former St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez, who was acquitted in the 2016 shooting death of Philando Castile in Falcon Heights.
The Minnesota National Guard has been activated a day after Wright was killed. Curfews will be in place Monday night in Brooklyn Center, Minneapolis and St. Paul.
The incident, which occurred just miles from where George Floyd died, resulted in clashes between protesters and police. Looting and unrest also spilled into Minneapolis.