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Brooklyn Center Police Chief Releases Bodycam Of Fatal Shooting

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While the BCA does not recommend releasing body camera footage this early in an investigation, Chief Tim Gannon said he wanted to be transparent and he wanted the community to see what happened, John Lauritsen reports (3:25). WCCO 4 News At 5 - April 12, 2021

Video Transcript

AMELIA SANTANIELLO: A police officer shot and killed 20-year-old Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center yesterday afternoon. It happened following a traffic stop.

FRANK VASCELLARO: Today, the police chief released bodycam footage from that incident. It appears the officer thought she was using her Taser but drew her handgun instead. His death led to protests and looting last night. As a result, a curfew is going to take effect at 7:00 this evening throughout the entire Twin Cities metro area.

Our John Lauritsen spent part of the day in Brooklyn Center, and he was there when police released that body camera footage. John?

JOHN LAURITSEN: Yeah Frank, that press conference involved the mayor, city manager, and Police Chief Tim Gannon. While the BCA does not recommend releasing body camera footage this early in an investigation, Chief Gannon says he wants to be transparent and he wants the community to see what happened.

TIM GANNON: I've watched the video myself, and there's nothing I can say to lessen the pain of Mr. Wright's family.

JOHN LAURITSEN: The body camera footage from the officer involved in the fatal shooting was played in front of reporters and community leaders. Chief Tim Gannon says 20-year-old Daunte Wright was pulled over for expired tabs, and that's when officers discovered there was a warrant our for his arrest for allegedly having a firearm without a permit.

DAUNTE WRIGHT: I'm not doing nothing.

JOHN LAURITSEN: As an officer is attempting to handcuff Wright, he tries to get back in the car. That's when a female officer can be heard yelling, "Taser."

- Taser, Taser, Taser!

JOHN LAURITSEN: But the officer draws her handgun instead of her Taser and shoots Wright.

- I just shot him.

- Oh, wow.

- Yeah.

TIM GANNON: As I watch the video and listen to the officer's commands, it is my belief that the officer had the intention to deploy their Taser but instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet.

JOHN LAURITSEN: Gannon believes the shooting was accidental. He says a right-handed officer is trained to carry their handgun on the right side and their taser on their left. The BCA is investigating, and the senior officer has been put on administrative leave.

Mayor Mike Elliott told reporters that mistakes can't be made that lead to loss of life.

MIKE ELLIOTT: I do fully support releasing the officer of her duties.

TIM GANNON: She will not be returning to duty until this investigation has run its course. And she-- for all intents and purposes, I think we can look at the video and ascertain whether or not she'll be returning.

JOHN LAURITSEN: Chief Gannon says that video released is unedited, except for one swear word was bleeped out. And of course, what we didn't see in that video, as well, is that Wright actually drove a couple more blocks before he crashed and was pronounced dead on the scene.

Now, just this afternoon, the Brooklyn Center City Council voted in favor to actually move the authority of the police department here to the mayor so he will have control over what happens, the comings and goings of the police department here in Brooklyn Center. So Frank, we'll be following that development as well.

FRANK VASCELLARO: All right, John. We appreciate it. Thank you.

Here's what we know about Daunte Wright.

AMELIA SANTANIELLO: He was 20 years old. He attended both Edison and Blaine High Schools. His mother, Katie Wright, tells us that she gave him the car he was driving just a few weeks ago. Wright was also a father. His son, Daunte Jr. will turn two in July.

FRANK VASCELLARO: And today, we're also hearing from several community leaders and organizations. They are sharing what they want to see happen.

NEKIMA LEVY ARMSTRONG: That officer needs to be fired immediately. The police chief needs to be fired immediately.

JAYLANI HUSSEIN: On Tuesday morning, they should be charging this officer with murder.

FRANK VASCELLARO: These groups tell us they plan to protest this evening outside of the Brooklyn Center Police Department.