Brooklyn Center, MN – The officer who fatally shot 20-year-old Daunte Wright during a traffic stop on Sunday night yelled “Taser!” but then fired a pistol instead of the less-lethal weapon, according to Brooklyn Center Police Chief Time Gannon (video below).
Bodycam footage of the incident was released on Monday.
The video showed police trying to place Wright in handcuffs outside of his vehicle after telling him he had a warrant out for his arrest.
“Don’t,” the officer warned the suspect.
“I’m not doing nothing,” Wright replied.
A moment later, the wanted fugitive suddenly began resisting arrest, the video showed.
He swiftly yanked his arm away and jumped back into the driver’s seat of the vehicle.
“Taser! Taser! Taser!” a second officer yelled as the initial officer struggled with the suspect.
Just then, a gunshot rang out.
“S—t!” the officer who fired the weapon said, just before the vehicle sped off. “I just shot him.”
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz was quick to take a stand against law enforcement following the officer-involved shooting.
“I am closely monitoring the situation in Brooklyn Center,” Walz tweeted shortly after the fatal shooting. “Gwen and I are praying for Daunte Wright’s family as our state mourns another life of a Black man taken by law enforcement.”
I am closely monitoring the situation in Brooklyn Center. Gwen and I are praying for Daunte Wright’s family as our state mourns another life of a Black man taken by law enforcement.
— Governor Tim Walz (@GovTimWalz) April 12, 2021
The city went into lockdown and the Minnesota National Guard was activated as approximately 500 rioters destroyed and looted approximately 20 businesses in Brooklyn Center after the incident.
The mob targeted a Walmart store and a nearby shopping mall, and completely destroyed a Foot Locker, a New York men’s clothing store, and a T-Mobile, the Star Tribune reported.
The widespread rioting spilled into neighboring communities as the night wore on.
The officer-involved shooting occurred just before 2 p.m. on April 11 near the intersection of Orchard Avenue and 63rd Avenue North, KSTP reported.
The Brooklyn Center Police Department (BCPD) said an officer stopped the vehicle due to a traffic violation and soon discovered the driver had a warrant out for his arrest.
According to court records, the warrant was issued in connection with an incident that took place in Minneapolis in June of 2020, the Associated Press reported.
Police in a statement of probable cause that Wright was allegedly waving a gun and fled from officers, resulting in a warrant being issued for his arrest.
Police said that when officer tried to take Wright into custody on Sunday night, the suspect was able to get back inside his vehicle and tried to flee the scene, KSTP reported.
“At one point as officers were attempting to take the driver into custody, the driver re-entered the vehicle,” Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said in a statement Sunday, according to ABC News. “One officer discharged their firearm, striking the driver.”
Wright continued to drive the vehicle for several blocks before he collided with another motorist, KSTP reported.
BCPD officers and paramedics immediately rendered aid, but Wright died from his wounds at the scene.
Wright’s girlfriend, who was inside the vehicle at the time of the incident, was transported to North Memorial Health Hospital with non-life threatening injuries, KSTP reported.
The occupants of the car Wright crashed into were not injured, police said.
Wright’s mother, Katie Wright, said she was on the phone with him during the traffic stop.
“I heard scuffling, and I heard the police officers say, ‘Daunte, don’t run,’ and then the other officer said, ‘Put the phone down’ and hung it up,” Katie Wright told KSTP. “And a minute later, I called and his girlfriend answered — that was the passenger — and said that he’d been shot, and she put it on the driver’s side and my son was laying there lifeless.”
The officers involved in the confrontation had their dashcams and bodycams activated during the encounter, according to the BCPD.
Wright’s family said he was “a good kid” who “had a whole life ahead of him,” ABC News reported.
“Daunte had a smile to make anyone’s heart melt. He was definitely a jokester, he loved to joke with people, especially his brothers and sisters,” the family said in a statement. “He did not deserve this.”
“We just want people to know Daunte was a good kid,” the statement read. “He loved being a father to Daunte Jr.”
Protesters carrying Black Lives Matter signs showed up at the scene nearly immediately after the officer-involved shooting, ABC News reported.
By the time the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (MBCA) arrived, the crowd had swelled to more than 100, some of whom were “highly agitated,” Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said.
Members of the group barged through police tape and confronted officers wearing riot gear at one point during the night, the Star Tribune reported.
They busted out the windows of two patrol cars at approximately 7:15 p.m.
Some of the rioters were seen hurling blocks of concrete, according to KSTP.
Others threw bags of garbage, rocks, water bottles, and various other projectiles, The New York Times reported.
A mob of as many as 500 rioters gathered outside the BCPD headquarters later in the night, the Star Tribune reported.
“We saw rocks and other objects thrown at the police department. There were reports of shots fired in the area of the police department,” Commissioner Harrington said during a press conference late Sunday night, according to ABC News. “Within hours of that, a secondary group we heard was at the Shingle Creek mall or business center and we have reports of approximately 20 businesses that were broken into during that period.”
Police declared an unlawful assembly and announced the mob had 10 minutes to clear the area, ABC News reported.
Officer began firing less-lethal projectiles at rioters and set off flash-bangs approximately 25 minutes later in efforts to disperse the group.
Tear gas was also deployed, according to The New York Times.
“Some pockets of individuals” remained in the area late into the night, Commissioner Harrington told ABC News.
It is unknown if anyone was arrested during the mayhem.
No injuries were reported, according to ABC News.
Commissioner Harrison said the Minnesota National Guard was mobilized at the request of Brooklyn Center officials.
The National Guard had also been deployed in Minneapolis to help with any violent uprisings that could arise during the ongoing trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, ABC News reported.
“At this time, we have essentially a full activation,” the commissioner said during the press conference. ‘You will see a robust assortment of National Guard, state and local police departments working together over the next two or three days as we once again prepare for the trial and also are prepared for any other and any further civil unrest that may come from the Brooklyn Center officer-involved shooting today.”
Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliot implemented a citywide curfew shortly after 12 a.m. on Monday, ABC News reported.
The curfew was lifted at 6 a.m. on Monday.
Brooklyn Center Community Schools were shut down on Monday due to the violent uprising, ABC News reported.
Minneapolis-Saint Paul area public transportation operator Metro Transit said on Sunday that it was cutting off the Brooklyn Center transit at law enforcement’s request.
“Our entire community is filled with grief following today’s officer-involved shooting of Daunte Wright, a 20 year old young man,” Elliot said in a statement, according to the Star Tribune. “Our hearts are with his family, and with all those in our community impacted by this tragedy.”
“While we await additional information from the BCA who is leading the investigation, we continue to ask that members of our community gathering do so peacefully, amid our calls for transparency and accountability,” the mayor added.
The American Civil Liberties Union-Minnesota (ACLU-MN) released a statement alleging the BCPD had targeted Wright because he was black, KSTP reported.
“The ACLU-MN has deep concerns that police here appear to have used dangling air fresheners as an excuse for making a pretextual stop, something police do all too often to target Black people,” the group said.
The claim about air fresheners has not been verified.
“The warrant appears to be for a non-felony…While we are waiting to learn more, we must reiterate that police violence and killings of people of color must end, as must the over-policing and racial profiling that are endemic to our white supremacist system of policing,” the ACLU-MN declared.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below. Warning – Graphic Content:
Warning: Graphic footage, including the shooting
Here's the body camera footage of the killing of Daunte Wright that was just released. pic.twitter.com/A2X8qS8ZFH
— The Recount (@therecount) April 12, 2021