Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, was fatally shot by officer Kim Potter on Sunday afternoon, April 11 during a traffic stop in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center.
During a Monday afternoon press conference, Brooklyn Center’s police chief Tim Gannon gave law enforcement’s side of the story before releasing the video of the fatal shooting.
Gannon said three officers stopped Wright and a passenger in a car with expired license-plate tags on Sunday night.
After running Wright’s identification, officers found an outstanding warrant for an unspecified gross misdemeanor. One officer removed Wright from the car to take him into custody.
Body-camera footage showed what happened next: Wright stepped out of the driver’s side of the vehicle, with his arms and hands held behind his back. As an officer attempts to handcuffs Wright, he broke free and jumped into the driver’s seat.
Another officer, wearing the body camera whose footage was released, pointed a weapon at Wright during a struggle with another officer, and yelled, “Taser! Taser! Taser!” The officer then fired a single shot, which was not from a Taser but from a firearm. “Holy shit, I just shot him!” the officer yelled as Wright drove away in the car.
He reportedly drove some distance before he struck another vehicle. When officers caught up to him they administered first aid, officials said, but Wright died of his injuries.
Wright’s passenger, described as his girlfriend, was reportedly uninjured after the shooting.
The Hennepin County medical examiner said Wright died of a gunshot wound to the chest, ruling his death as a homicide.
According to Wright’s mother, who had spoken to her son before the shooting, he was pulled over for having an air freshener hanging from his rearview mirror, which is illegal in Minnesota.
Following the news of his death, hundreds of people gathered to protest, and after a night of unrest, including looting, the National Guard was called in and a curfew was declared.
President Biden has called for any protests against Wright’s shooting to remain “peaceful.”
“There is absolutely no justification, none, for looting, no justification for violence. Peaceful protests, understandable, and the fact is that, you know, we do know that the anger, pain, and trauma that exists in the Black community in that environment is real, it’s serious and it’s consequential. But it will not justify violence and/or looting,” he said.
“And we should listen to Daunte’s mom, who is calling for peace and calm,” he said.