Minnesota officer who shot Daunte Wright meant to fire Taser

Protesters kneel across from the Brooklyn Center Police Department headquarters in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, late Sunday, April 11, 2021, where protesters faced off with police officers after a police officer shot and killed Daunte Wright during a traffic stop. (Photo: NYTimes)
BROOKLYN CENTER, Minnesota — The officer who fatally shot a Black man during a traffic stop near Minneapolis mistakenly confused her gun for her Taser, police officials said Monday, quickly releasing video as they tried to ease tensions in a state on edge over the Derek Chauvin trial.اضافة اعلان

In a brief clip of body camera video, officers from the Brooklyn Center Police Department can be seen trying to handcuff the driver, Daunte Wright, before he suddenly lurches back into his car. One of the officers aims a weapon at Wright and shouts, “Taser! Taser! Taser!”

She fires one round, and Wright groans in pain.

“Holy shit, I just shot him,” the officer can be heard shouting.

Late Monday, the officer who fired the fatal shot was identified as Kim Potter, who has worked for the department for 26 years.

The announcement came as protesters faced off with the police. Hundreds had gathered outside the Brooklyn Center police station for the second consecutive night, defying the 7pm curfew.

Demonstrators occasionally lobbed water bottles and rocks over newly erected fencing, chanting “killer cop” and “hands up, don’t shoot” while officers clad in riot gear stood guard. Officers responded by sporadically firing projectiles at the crowd and at one point released a chemical agent that caused people to cough. 

Mayor Mike Elliott of Brooklyn Center, in an interview on CNN, urged the protesters to leave: “I’m asking everybody to go home. We need to keep the peace in our city.” By midnight, only a few dozen people remained.

Even though many details about Potter and the shooting remain scarce, the Twin Cities spent the day bracing for unrest. The mayors of Minneapolis and St. Paul declared states of emergency, and professional baseball, basketball and hockey games in Minnesota were postponed.

The fatal shooting Sunday took place in a region already at the center of a national reckoning over police officers’ use of force against Black people. As the investigation into Wright’s death in Brooklyn Center was beginning Monday, prosecutors in a courtroom less than 17km away completed the questioning of their witnesses in the trial of Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with murdering George Floyd in May.

The shooting of Wright, 20, caused an immediate outcry and recognition by President Joe Biden, who said he was praying for the Wright family and called for an investigation.