Protests erupt in the aftermath of Minnesota police officer Kim Potter’s shooting of Daunte Wright.
The police officer who says she accidentally discharged her pistol rather than her taser has worked for the city for more than two decades.
The officer who claimed to have fired her pistol rather than her taser at a 20-year-old black man, killing him, has been identified.
According to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the officer is Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kim Potter, a 26-year veteran of the department.
Ms Potter has been placed on administrative leave until prosecutors determine what disciplinary action, if any, should be taken, including possible criminal charges.
Ms Potter is the president of the Brooklyn Center Police Officers Association and has also represented other officers involved in fatal shootings, according to local news site KSTP.
Daunte Wright was pulled over on Sunday during a routine traffic stop, but police discovered he was wanted on a warrant and tried to arrest him.
Mr Wright engaged in a brief altercation with police before resuming control of the vehicle.
That is when Ms Potter opened fire on him.
Mr Wright was able to drive away but died moments later from his gunshot wound.
‘Holy s**t, I shot him’: Bodycam video from a police officer released
Protests continue to erupt in Minneapolis, Minnesota, less than a half-hour from the site of George Floyd’s death.
The region’s police chief defended the officer who fired the deadly shot, telling reporters that she mistook her weapon for her taser.
“The officer drew their weapon rather than their taser,” Brooklyn Center police chief Tim Gannon said at a press conference following Mr Wright’s death on Sunday.
Mr Gannon said that he believes the cop, who has been put on administrative leave pending an investigation, “intended to use their taser but instead shot Mr Wright with a single bullet.”
“This was an unintentional discharge that resulted in Mr Wright’s tragic death,” Mr Gannon said.
“There is nothing I can say to ease Mr Wright’s family’s pain.”
Mr Wright’s brother recently spoke at a vigil, claiming that reports that the shooting was a “accident” were “straight bulls**t.”
“I could tell he was scared from the tone of his voice,” he said.
“For them to call it an accident or a misunderstanding is complete nonsense. “I want everybody to know, everybody who knows Daunte, what kind of kid he is… he will give you his shirt off his back, he is the most trustworthy guy I know.”
Mr Gannon showed reporters police body camera footage of the shooting, which triggered overnight demonstrations and looting of a shopping mall in Brooklyn Center.
Mr Wright was dragged from his vehicle in the video after police stopped him for a traffic violation and discovered he had an outstanding warrant.
When Mr Wright scuffles with the officers and re-enters the car’s driver’s seat, a female police officer yells “I’ll tase you” and then “taser, taser, taser.”
“Holy s**t, I shot him,” the officer said as Mr Wright drove away, mortally wounded.
As demonstrations continue, a curfew has been imposed.
Following the police shooting, authorities in and around Minneapolis declared a curfew for Monday night.
“I have declared a state of emergency in the city of Minneapolis, and we are implementing a curfew beginning at 7 p.m. (Monday) and lasting until 6 a.m. (Tuesday) morning,” Mayor Jacob Frey said at a press conference.
Additionally, the curfew will be implemented in St. Paul’s twin city and neighboring counties, including Hennepin County, where Mr Wright was assassinated.
The police chief grew emotional when he spoke with reporters last night about the incident, but started to argue when reporters indicated the demonstrations were being exaggerated.
“I was a focal point of the rally. Mr Gannon said, “During the riot.”
“Do not do that; no riot occurred,” a reporter responded.
Mr Gannon replied, “There was.”
Mr Gannon informed reporters that one officer had been hospitalized after being struck in the head by a brick.
“I am the department’s manager. They anticipate me to take the initiative. Construct a secure city. That is what I am attempting. That concludes our discussion… Indeed, I am emotional. I’m simply attempting to be candid,” the chief said.
After reports of looting, the National Guard was dispatched to the region.
Local reporters on the scene reported seeing many businesses “completely gone” as police and demonstrators clashed.
Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety John Harrington stated that approximately 20 businesses in the Brooklyn Park area had been broken into.
Liz Sawyer, a reporter for the Star Tribune in Minnesota, said that she observed looting.
Minneapolis, the state’s largest city, is now on edge due to the murder trial of George Floyd, an African American who died last May 25 after a white police officer put his knee on his neck for more than nine minutes.
This killing triggered a series of protests across the country, some of them brutal, and precipitated an ongoing confrontation with America’s racial history.
Joe Biden calls for restraint and a ‘thorough investigation’
US Vice President Joe Biden called Mr Wright’s shooting “tragic,” but cautioned that violent demonstrations were unjustifiable.
“I believe that (the shooting) was a truly horrific event, but I believe that we must wait to see what the investigation reveals,” Mr Biden told reporters on Monday.
“In the meantime, I want to emphasize once more: there is no excuse whatsoever for looting. Protests that are peaceful — understandable,” he said.
Mr Biden said that he had been briefed on the incident and had seen the police body camera footage of the shooting.
Mr Biden described the video as “fairly graphic.”
“The question is whether it was an accident or deliberate? That is something that will have to be decided through a thorough investigation.” “In the meantime, I want to emphasize once more: there is no excuse whatsoever for looting. Protests that are peaceful — understandable,” he said.
“The reality is that we all know that the rage, pain, and trauma experienced by members of the Black community, in that context, are real. Although this is grave and consequential, it does not excuse violence or looting. We should heed Daunte’s mother’s plea for peace and tranquillity.”