Daunte Wright shooting: police officer who shot black man in Minnesota ‘meant to fire Taser and not handgun’

Daunte Wright was fatally shot on Sunday in Minnesota - a city that is already on edge because of the trial of the first of four police officers charged in George Floyd's death.

The fatal shooting of a black man during a traffic stop in the US was an “accident” with the officer intending to fire a Taser and not a handgun, a police chief has said.

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Mr Wright’s shooting has sparked protests and a curfew has been put in place.

Demonstrators outside of the Brooklyn Center police station on April 12, 2021 in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota (Getty Images)

However, that curfew has been broken with reports of demonstrators throwing bottles and fireworks at police and officers responding with tear gas and stun grenades.

Other protestors gathered near the scene waving flags and signs reading "Black Lives Matter", while others walked peacefully with their hands held up.

On one street, someone wrote in multi-coloured chalk: "Justice for Daunte Wright."

Police chief believes officer made mistake

Brooklyn Centre Police Chief Tim Gannon described the shooting as "an accidental discharge". The state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension was investigating.

He said at a news conference that the officer made a mistake, and he released body camera footage from the officer who fired.

The footage showed three officers around a stopped car. When another officer attempts to handcuff Wright, a struggle ensues. The officer is heard shouting "Taser" several times before firing her weapon.

"This was an accidental discharge that resulted in a tragic death of Mr Wright," the chief said.

How US politicians have reacted

Brooklyn Centre Mayor Mike Elliott called the shooting "deeply tragic".

"We're going to do everything we can to ensure that justice is done and our communities are made whole," he said.

Minnesota Gov Tim Walz tweeted that he was praying for Mr Wright's family "as our state mourns another life of a black man taken by law enforcement".

President Joe Biden was briefed on the shooting, and the White House has been in touch with the governor, mayor and local law enforcement, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.

"We were incredibly saddened to hear about the loss of life at the hands of law enforcement in Minnesota yesterday," she said.

Daunte’s mum urges peaceful protests

Speaking before the unrest, Mr Wright's mother, Katie Wright, urged protesters to stay peaceful and focused on the loss of her son.

"All the violence, if it keeps going, it's only going to be about the violence. We need it to be about why my son got shot for no reason," she said to a crowd near the shooting scene in Brooklyn Centre, a city of about 30,000 people on the north-west border of Minneapolis.

"We need to make sure it's about him and not about smashing police cars, because that's not going to bring my son back."

What happened in the shooting

Authorities said the car was pulled over for having expired registration and after determining the driver had an outstanding warrant, police said they tried to arrest him.

Then the driver re-entered the vehicle, and an officer fired, striking him, police said. The vehicle travelled several blocks before striking another vehicle.

Mr Wright's family offered a different account, with Katie Wright saying her son was shot before getting back into the car.

A female passenger sustained non-life-threatening injuries during the crash, authorities said. Katie Wright said that passenger was her son's girlfriend.

Court records show Wright was being sought after failing to appear in court on charges that he fled from officers and possessed a gun without a permit during an encounter with Minneapolis police in June.

In that case, a statement of probable cause said police got a call about a man waving a gun who was later identified as Wright.