In a press conference, Chief of Police in the Minneapolis suburb or Brooklyn Center, Minnesota said that Kimberly Potter, the officer who yesterday shot to death 20-year-old unarmed Black man Daunte Wright, did so after mistaking her firearm for her taser.
Chief Tim Gannon played bodycam footage for the media and members of the community today in which the officer repeatedly shouted "Taser!" as a warning before discharging her gun instead.
Bodycam footage can be viewed below.
WARNING: footage may be disturbing for some viewers
The footage shows Wright's arrest following being pulled over in his car for a traffic violation. After being handcuffed, Wright appeared to panic, and attempted to flee. During the ensuing chaos, the officer aimed her gun while repeatedly yelling "I will tase you!" and "taser!" She then discharged her weapon.
As Wright attempted to drive away, the officer was heard telling her partners of her mistake.
"Oh sh*t! I just shot him!"
In his comments to the press and community members, Gannon called the incident an "accidental discharge that resulted in the tragic death of Mr. Wright."
For some in attendance, that explanation was insufficient, and many were angered by Gannon's unwillingness to answer more pointed questions about police violence and the much higher rate at which police officers kill Black people that White people.
Democratic Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, however, addressed the problem head-on in a news conference.
"[W]e don't have to continue having these press conferences, and having what may be a routine traffic stop and a 20-year-old dead, a family devastated and a community on edge."
"We can stop pretending that this is just the natural order of the universe and that things happen this way."
Wright's death occurred just miles from the ongoing murder trial of police officer Derek Chauvin for the killing of George Floyd last summer in neighboring Minneapolis.
On social media, many people were outraged by and incredulous of the officer's mistaking her gun for her taser.
“I thought it was my taser” “I thought it was my apartment” “I thought I saw him/her with a gun” “I thought he was… https://t.co/ToLJwbeCd1— Sy Smith (@Sy Smith) 1618272217.0
She thought it was a taser? If that's true, she's a really bad cop. Taser's in MN are yellow, and lighter. See the… https://t.co/i4oHbwPERB— Chip Franklin InsideTheBeltway.com (@Chip Franklin InsideTheBeltway.com) 1618272039.0
And we’re supposed to believe the cop thought they drew their taser?? https://t.co/U1f1A73alO— lyss (@lyss) 1618271763.0
The cop who killed #DaunteWright because she allegedly can’t distinguish between a gun and Taser is PRESIDENT OF TH… https://t.co/YIjGmsAqYz— Jerry Iannelli (@Jerry Iannelli) 1618278859.0
🤬I’m going to be crystal clear. A taser and a 9mm have different feels. They pull from the holster differently. I… https://t.co/4yJ0M5UfBx— Maddog (@Maddog) 1618267464.0
They're really going to run with this "Daunte Wright's killing was an accident" narrative and we're not gonna get a… https://t.co/T4AiINU0C4— Jessica Fyre 💫 (@Jessica Fyre 💫) 1618273924.0
I’m sorry, I’m supposed to believe that a cop couldn’t feel the difference between a taser and a gun? Come on, man.… https://t.co/aVVj8XQJbm— JEN KIRKMAN (@JEN KIRKMAN) 1618272325.0
You mean to tell me a 26-year veteran cop panicked like that and couldn’t tell the difference between a taser and gun?— Russ Haddad (@Russ Haddad) 1618279399.0
So the officer who didn't know her taser from her gun is the union president and has counseled other officers invol… https://t.co/T3AyGoKgOW— 🖤 Snappy Black Womxn 🖤 (@🖤 Snappy Black Womxn 🖤) 1618278789.0
Potter has been placed on leave while the Brooklyn Center Police Department investigates Wright's death.
You can watch the full, unedited footage here: