A North Carolina law enforcement department is making changes to its tasers after the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright in Minnesota.
The Alamance County Sheriff’s Office is putting yellow tape on tasers to help the public and other agencies tell them apart from guns, spokesperson Michelle Mills said Thursday in a phone interview.
Photos shared with McClatchy News show a bright-colored adhesive similar to duct tape attached to the stun guns.
The department told media outlets it’s taking steps to prevent a tragedy similar to the one police said unfolded this month in a Minneapolis suburb.
Wright, a Black man, was killed during an April 11 traffic stop in Brooklyn Center. Police chief Tim Gannon stepped down after he called the shooting accidental and said officer Kim Potter meant to use her taser.
Potter also resigned and was later charged with second-degree manslaughter.
In Alamance County, roughly 60 miles west of Raleigh, officials said the sheriff’s department hasn’t had problems with tasers being pulled by accident.
“But in response to what has happened, we worked pretty closely with some of our community leaders, and they brought up good questions,” Mills told McClatchy News.
She said the department has “pretty stringent taser training,” and members of its force wear them on the opposite side of their bodies from where their guns are. As the department considers getting all-yellow tasers, the addition of the tape will help partnering law enforcement agencies and community members recognize when a taser is being used, according to officials.
“We want to let them know we do hear the issues, and we’re trying to get ahead of the curve to make sure we don’t have anything happening here that has happened somewhere else,” Deputy Sheriff Mark Johnson said, according to WXLV.
Sheriff Terry Johnson told WFMY that guns are heavier than tasers and said it’s not common to mix up those devices.
“I personally would’ve known the difference, I think, between my weapon and my taser but in the heat of the moment when you’re struggling with someone who knows what that individual would think,” the sheriff said, according to the TV station.
Wright’s death was at the center of protests across the nation, including in North Carolina.
The shooting happened about 10 miles from the trial for a former Minneapolis police officer charged in the death of another Black man, George Floyd. Video shown in court showed Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes during an arrest.
On Tuesday, a jury found Chauvin guilty on all charges — second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.