Updated Apr 13, 2021 - News
Police: Officer who shot Daunte Wright accidentally pulled gun instead of Taser

The officer who fatally shot Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, outside Minneapolis Sunday appeared to have inadvertently pulled out her gun instead of a Taser, police said.

What's new: Officials on Monday night identified the officer involved in the shooting as Kim Potter, who has been with the Brooklyn Center Police Department for 26 years.

What they're saying: "This appears to me, from what I viewed in the officer's reaction and distress immediately after, that this was an accidental discharge that resulted in the tragic death of Mr. Wright," Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon told reporters Monday.

Of note: The Hennepin County medical examiner said in a statement Monday that Wright died of a gunshot wound to the chest.

  • The report classifies Wright's death as a homicide, which means it was caused by another person and does not signify criminal intent as identified by a medical examiner.

The backdrop: Wright was shot and killed during a traffic stop just before 2 p.m. Sunday, about 10 miles from where George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer last year.

  • Body camera video released by police shows Wright trying to get back into his car during an encounter with officers.
  • The shooting, which sparked protests and unrest across the Twin Cities Sunday night, has inflamed tensions in a community already on edge amid the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with murder in Floyd's death.
  • Activists criticized the department for using excessive force, including tear gas and flash-bang grenades, against protesters. Gannon defended his department's decisions, saying he needed to disperse the crowd after an officer was hit with a brick.

The response: Brooklyn Center's city manager was relieved of his duties on Monday "effectively immediately," Mayor Mike Elliott announced.

  • The deputy city manager will assume his duties going forward, he said. The City Council voted to grant police department authority to the mayor's office, the Star Tribune reports.

What's next: Potter has been placed on administrative leave.

  • The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is conducting an independent investigation.
  • Elliott told reporters he supports firing the officer. Elliott also tweeted that he had spoken with President Biden, who is expected to address the shooting in remarks on Monday.
  • City officials in Minneapolis and St. Paul, meanwhile, announced curfews beginning at 7 p.m. Monday in anticipation of more protests.

Editor's note: This article has been updated comment from Elliott, details of the medical examiner's report and on the officer involved in the shooting being identified.

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