Caution: The video above is graphic and violent, definitely not safe for work.
If Police Chief Tim Gannon is to be believed, Sunday's tragic shooting of Daunte Wright was a routine traffic stop that escalated into a "very senior" officer on the police force shooting him when she meant to tase him.
And to prove that, he showed bodycam footage of the stop.
In the video, you hear the officer shouting "Taser! Taser! Taser!" just before she fires her gun. "Holy shit, I shot him!" is the next thing you hear.
And then you hear someone in the press room exclaim, "We're not going to terminate this officer?"
Which was my reaction entirely. To be clear here, they pulled him over on a pretense, found a warrant, and he resisted being handcuffed because I suppose there is a fear about police in that area. Not too difficult to understand that.
Daunte Wright was not being arrested for a violent crime. He was pulled over for expired tags in a state where tag issuance is 2-3 months behind because there is a pandemic and the DMV is behind. I think reasonable people might conclude that a young black man driving a nice newer white car triggered some police action that might not be triggered if that young man had been white. Or female. (In my youth, I was pulled over by the LAPD for expired tags and dragged off to jail on a bench warrant for those expired tags and I was pissed off and squirming but never tased because white women only get pulled over, not tased.)
"As you can hear, the officer while struggling with Mr. Wright shouts taser, taser several times," Gannon observed. "That's part of the officer's training prior to drawing a taser, which is a less lethal device, that is done to make her partners aware that a taser -- during this -- the officer drew their handgun instead of their taser."
OH. It was just an OOPS? One that is fatal, you say? Gannon explained that they train with their handguns on their dominant side and the taser on their weak side, to prevent what happened. It did not prevent what happened.
The police chief was terrible. AWFUL. The only good thing he did was release that bodycam footage. But just after showing the footage, he chewed out the community for protesting (I did not include it in the clip) right after playing that clip.
"I've seen some of the worst damage to this city I've ever seen in those years," he said. "Again, peaceful protesting, expressing yourself, we fully support that. But the ravaging of our businesses, the looting of our stores, the destruction to our pharmacies, we cannot tolerate that."
We cannot tolerate young Black men being dead for expired tags.
This guy comes out and says his "very senior" officer shot a guy because she was apparently not well-trained enough to tell her taser from her gun and then yells at the community who came out to grieve for not taking it well. By the way, those of you who heard that Daunte Wright had a gun in the car were misinformed. He did not have one, according to Chief Gannon. He was just a guy driving in a car he'd just gotten a couple of weeks ago with his girlfriend. A Black guy.
He should resign. The officer should be fired and not allowed to be an officer ever again. And cities like this should do something about the ingrained racism that they feel gives them permission to tase and/or kill someone over expired tags.