MN Police Chief: Officer Mistakenly Fired Handgun Instead Of Taser

During a press conference yesterday, officials in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota 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.”

Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said after playing body cam footage:

“As you can hear, the officer while struggling with Mr. Wright shots, “Taser, taser” several times. That is part of the officer’s training prior to deploying a teaser, 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 eminent/ during this encounter, however, the officer drew their handgun instead of their taser. For informational purposes, we train with our handguns on our dominant side and taser on our weak side. So if you’re right-handed, you carry your firearm on your right side and your carry your teaser on the left.
This is done purposefully and is trained. 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. This appears to me from what I viewed in the officer’s reaction and distress immediately after that this was an accidental discharge that resulted in the tragic death of Mr. Wright. I’ve asked the BCA to conduct an independent investigation into the shooting and death. Once they are completed, I expect they will submit their findings independent of me to the appropriate authorities, the appropriate attorneys, that will look and review this case. I’m also stressing that I do hope for the community to be patient and allow this criminal investigation to be completed as thoroughly as possible. I believe Mr. Wright deserves this, as do all involved.”

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.

The officer has been placed on administrative leave and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating Wright’s death.