"Holy shit, I just shot him!" That’s what a Minnesota police officer said just after fatally shooting Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, according to body camera footage.
Now, police say the killing was accidental, and that the officer who shot Wright likely meant to use her Taser.
In the footage from the Sunday afternoon traffic stop, played at a press conference held Monday by law enforcement in Brooklyn Center, a suburb of Minneapolis, Wright can be seen getting pulled out of his car by police officers, turned around and pushed against the vehicle. He then attempts to get back into the driver’s seat. That’s when an officer took out her gun and fired a shot into the car.
The officer yelled “Taser, Taser, Taser,” before firing her pistol. She then said, “Holy shit, I just shot him,” leading Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon to believe the shooting was “an accidental discharge.”
“As I watch 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," Gannon said.
The name of the officer who shot Wright was not released, and no more personal information was given other than that she is female. She is on administrative leave, according to Gannon.
Police said Sunday that Wright was pulled over because of a “traffic violation,” but said Monday that he was initially stopped because of an expired registration. After stopping him, police said officers determined that he had an outstanding warrant.
After he was shot, Wright drove for several blocks before hitting another vehicle, according to a statement from Brooklyn Center Police released on Sunday. There was another passenger in the car with him, but she did not sustain life-threatening injuries from the crash, and was taken to the North Memorial Health Hospital in Robbinsdale.
Wright’s killing set off protests in the Minneapolis area that lasted until the early hours Monday morning. The mayor of Brooklyn Center, Mike Elliott, issued a curfew through 6 a.m. Monday morning. Protesters were reportedly fired on with tear gas and rubber bullets near a Brooklyn Center police precinct, and the Minnesota National Guard was deployed.
Late Sunday evening, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz tweeted that he was “closely monitoring the situation in Brooklyn Center” and praying for Wright’s family “as our state mourns another life of a Black man taken by law enforcement.”
In another afternoon press conference on Monday afternoon, Gov. Walz declared a state of emergency in the Twin Cities area. A curfew will go into effect at 7 p.m. Monday night and last until 6 a.m. Tuesday morning.
After expressing his condolences to Wright’s family and addressing the police violence plaguing the state, Gov. Walz warned protesters about staying out past curfew and said that the state is bringing in more than 1,000 members of the National Guard members.
“The largest police presence in Minnesota history and coordination will be prepared,” Walz said. “You will be arrested, you will be charged."
According to police, between 25 and 30 protesters have been arrested since Sunday night.
The police shooting on Sunday came just before the eleventh day of the trial of Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer who is being tried for the killing of George Floyd, a Black man.
Floyd’s death sparked national outrage, and a reckoning about race and policing in the U.S.
Chauvin was caught on video last year kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes during an arrest. He has been charged with second- and third-degree murder, as well as second-degree manslaughter in the Black man’s death. If convicted, he faces up to 65 years in prison.