President Joe Biden on Monday responded to the police-involved shooting death of Daunte Wright near Minneapolis, saying there is “no justification for looting” and “no justification for violence.”
Following Wright’s death, violent protests and looting erupted in Brooklyn Center, a suburb of Minneapolis, on Sunday night. Minnesota officials called in the National Guard after crowds of people started throwing rocks at officers and the local police department headquarters.
“The fact is, we know the anger, pain, and trauma in [the] black community is real and consequential, but [it] doesn’t justify violence and looting,” Biden told reporters.
But he called on people to wait for an investigation into the shooting.
“We’ve got to wait and see what the investigation shows … The question is, was it an accident, intentional? That remains to be determined by a full-blown investigation,” the president said.
Biden also spoke with Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott. Elliott wrote on Twitter “I appreciate @POTUS reaching out to offer his administration’s support.”
Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said the female officer involved in the shooting erroneously drew her gun instead of her Taser during a traffic stop Sunday. The officer’s name was not disclosed.
Gannon said that during the traffic stop, officers determined Wright, 20, had an outstanding gross misdemeanor warrant.
“At one point as officers were attempting to take the driver into custody, the driver re-entered the vehicle,” Gannon said in a statement Sunday. “One officer discharged their firearm, striking the driver.”
Gannon’s office also released body camera footage of the incident, and he said the officer could be heard warning Wright and other officers that she would be using a Taser.
“However, the officer drew their handgun instead of their Taser,” Gannon said. “It is my belief that the officer had the intention to deploy their Taser, but instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet. This appears to me, from what I viewed and the officer’s reaction and distress immediately after, that this was an accidental discharge that resulted in the tragic death of Mr. Wright.”
In the body camera footage, the officer can be heard yelling an expletive in surprise before yelling: “I just shot him.”
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension confirmed it is investigating the matter.
Wright’s family later Monday confirmed they are hiring George Floyd family attorney Ben Crump, who also represented the families of Breonna Taylor and Trayvon Martin.
John Harrington, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, said overnight that when investigators arrived on the scene after Wright’s death, there were about 100 “highly agitated” people on hand. The crowd was asked to disperse.
Later, crowds of people marched to the Brooklyn Center Police Department building. Photos showed rioters on top of police vehicles, and there were a few dozen businesses that were looted, Harrington told a news conference. People were heard chanting Black Lives Matter-affiliated slogans and holding BLM signs.
“We saw rocks and other objects thrown at the police department. There were reports of shots fired in the area of the police department,” Harrington said Sunday. “Within hours of that, a secondary group we heard was at the Shingle Creek mall or business center and we have reports of approximately 20 businesses that were broken into during that period.”