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Chief: Officer who fatally shot Daunte Wright meant to use Taser, pulled gun by mistake

Chief Tim Gannon provided the update as Brooklyn Center PD released bodycam footage of Daunte Wright's death.
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The Brooklyn Center Police Officer who shot Daunte Wright dead during a traffic stop meant to use their Taser, but pulled their gun by "mistake."

That's according to BCPD Chief Tim Gannon, who appeared at a press conference Monday a day after the fatal shooting of the 20-year-old on Sunday afternoon.

"It is my belief that the officer had their intention to deploy the Taser but instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet," Gannon said during the news conference, saying he believes this was an "accidental discharge."

“For informational purposes, we train with our handguns on our dominant side and our Taser on our weak side,” Gannon said.

"If you’re right-handed, you carry your firearm on your right side and you carry your Taser on the left. This is done purposefully, and it’s trained."

Bodycam footage released during the news conference shows Wright being arrested by two officers, one of whom says they have a warrant out for his arrest.

Wright then tries to get back in the driver's seat of his vehicle, at which point a female officer shouts "Taser! Taser!"

But instead of pulling her Taser, she instead pulled her gun, which is on the opposite side of an officer's uniform. She can then be heard saying, "Oh shit, I just shot him."

Gannon referred to Wright's shooting as an "accidental discharge," and noted the officer who fired her gun is a "very senior officer."

Wright was able to drive for several blocks in the vehicle, before crashing near 63rd and Lee.

Gannon says as far as he's aware, Wright was not in possession of a firearm.

"The releasing of video this early is not something they [the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension] condone," Gannon said, noting he took it upon himself to release the video because the "community needed to see what happened."

Gannon briefly left the news conference but returned after being pressed to return to answer more questions, saying he's used to handing off things to the BCA. 

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Mayor approves of officer's firing

Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott said during Monday's news conference that he supports firing the officer who fired her gun. 

"We cannot afford to make mistakes that lead to loss of life in our profession," Elliott said, adding he would "fully support relieving the officer of her duties."

The city manager, which has the authority to terminate officers, and Chief Gannon said she is entitled to due process.

"She has the right to be heard. She has the right to give her statement," Gannon said. "I think we can look at the video and ascertain whether or not she will be returning."

The officer is on administrative leave. Her name will be released by the BCA in the near future. 

Wright pulled over for expired tabs

Wright was pulled over on Sunday just before 2 p.m. in the area of 63rd Avenue and Orchard Avenue North in Brooklyn Center, with the chief saying he was told the vehicle had expired tabs. 

When the officer approached, he saw something hanging from the rearview mirror. The officer then ran his name through the system and found he had a warrant, which is why they were trying to arrest him, Gannon explained. 

"I have very little information on the warrant, other than it was a gross misdemeanor warrant," Gannon said.

This is a developing story, and will be updated.

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