Daunte Wright was a 20-year-old black man who was shot and killed by a female police officer during a traffic stop in a suburb of Minneapolis on Sunday afternoon.
Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon described the shooting Monday as “an accidental discharge.” He said the responsible officer intended to fire a taser, not a pistol.
Body camera footage from the fatal encounter shows three officers around a stopped car. When another officer tries to handcuff Wright, a fight ensues.
“Taser! Taser! Taser!” one of the officers is heard yelling. Another officer fires a single shot with his pistol, the car drives away and the officer is heard saying: “Holy (damn)! I shot him.”
Authorities said the car was pulled over for having an expired registration and, after determining that the driver had an outstanding warrant, police said they tried to arrest him. The driver then re-entered the vehicle and an officer shot and struck him, police said. The vehicle traveled several blocks before colliding with another vehicle.
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A female passenger suffered non-life threatening injuries during the crash, authorities said. Daunte’s mother, Katie Wright, said the passenger was her son’s girlfriend.
So who was Daunte Wright?
Court records show that Wright was wanted after failing to appear in court on charges of fleeing from officers and possessing a weapon without a permit during an encounter with Minneapolis police in June. In that case, a probable cause statement said police received a call about a man brandishing a gun who was later identified as Wright.
Katie Wright said her son called her because he was allegedly being detained for having air fresheners hanging from his rearview mirror, an offense in Minnesota.
“All he did was have air fresheners in the car, and they told him to get out of the car,” Wright said. During the call, he said he heard a fight and then someone saying “Daunte, don’t run” before the call ended. When he called again, his son’s girlfriend answered and said he had been shot.
Shortly after the shooting, protesters began to gather, and some jumped on police cars. The protesters also arrived at the Brooklyn Center Police Department, where stones and other objects were thrown at officers, authorities said.
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Wright’s father, Aubrey, told the Washington Post that his son had just asked his mother for $ 50 for a car wash and was on his way there when he was shot.
“I know my son. He was scared. Still [had] the mind of a 17 year old because we pamper him, “Wright told the outlet.” If he resisted arrest, he could Taste him. I do not get it “.
Aubrey said Daunte had a 2-year-old son and dropped out of high school two years ago due to a learning disability. Since then, Daunte has worked in retail and fast food restaurants to support her son and planned to get her GED, Aubrey told The Post.
“He was a great kid,” Aubrey Wright said. “He was a normal kid. He never had any serious problems. He enjoyed spending time with his 2-year-old son. He loved his son.”
Court records indicate that Daunte has had some prior brush with the law. He was arrested in February on one count of aggravated robbery, but was later released.
In February 2020, Daunte was also convicted of a misdemeanor offense for disorderly conduct in connection with an event from the previous summer. And in late 2019 he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for possession and sale of a small amount of marijuana.
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Wright’s death comes as the area was already on edge due to the trial of the first of four police officers charged in George Floyd’s death.
The trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis officer charged in Floyd’s death, continued Monday. Floyd, a black man, died on May 25 after Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck. Prosecutors say Floyd was pinned down for 9 minutes and 29 seconds.
The judge in that case on Monday refused to kidnap the jury after a defense attorney argued that the panel could be swayed by the prospect of what might happen as a result of its verdict.
Speaking ahead of the Sunday night riots in Brooklyn Center, a city of about 30,000 people on Minneapolis’s northwest border, Wright’s mother, Katie Wright, urged protesters to remain in peace and focus on the loss of their child.
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“All the violence, if it continues, will only be about the violence. We need it to be about why my son was shot for no reason,” he told a crowd near the scene of the shooting. “We have to make sure it’s about him and not wrecking police cars, because that’s not going to bring my son back.”
Associated Press contributed to this report.