Police have released more information, including graphic body camera footage, about their fatal shooting on Sunday of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center during a traffic stop.
“It appears to me this was an accidental discharge that resulted in the tragic death of Mr Wright,” police chief Tim Gannon told a press conference on Monday.
According to the chief, the officer involved, who is now on leave, meant to reach for her Taser stun gun. In the footage, she can be heard yelling, “I’ll Tase you. Taser! Taser! Taser!” while holding what appears to be a pistol, before shooting Mr Wright amid a struggle with officers.
Leaders across Minnesota have condemned Mr Wright’s death, including Minnesota governor Tim Walz.
“Gwen and I are praying for Daunte Wright’s family as our state mourns another life of a Black man taken by law enforcement,” he said in a statement on Monday.
The incident brought out hundreds of protestors on Sunday night to express their grief and frustration with continued police killings of Black people in Minneapolis, and officials responded with a large police contingent in riot gear as well as the Minnesota National Guard. Officers used tear gas on the protestors.
Mr Wright’s death comes amid already heightened tensions in Minneapolis, as the trial of Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer charged with murdering George, continues. Mr Floyd’s death provoked massive citywide protests last summer and helped inspire a national reckoning around systemic racism in America.
So far, multiple expert witnesses have testified that contrary to what some of Mr Chauvin’s defenders have claimed, Mr Floyd did die from police causing him a fatal lack of oxygen, rather than some other underlying cause. The prosecution is expected to rest its case as soon as today or tomorrow.