President Joe Biden has called for “peace and calm” in the wake of fatal police shooting of Daunte Wright in Minnesota, saying his death does not justify violence or looting.
Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, was fatally shot by female police on Sunday afternoon, pril 11, during a traffic stop in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center.
An officer’s body camera footage released on Monday indicated that Wright got out of his car, but then got back in. It’s not clear why, but Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon told reporters it appeared from the video that Wright was trying to leave the scene. Gannon also said that the video appeared to show an officer had shouted “Taser!” but fired her handgun accidentally, killing Daunte Wright.
According to Wright’s mother, who had spoken to her son before the shooting, he was pulled over for having an air freshener hanging from his rearview mirror, which is illegal in Minnesota.
Police said Monday that he was stopped for a traffic violation. Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said he believes, based on the body camera video, that the officer who shot Wright mistakenly believed she was firing a Taser and not her gun.
Wright was shot about 14 miles north of where George Floyd, another black man was killed last year. Former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin is on trial charged with second-and third-degree murder. Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes.
In a tweet, Biden wrote: “Today I’m thinking about Daunte Wright and his family and the pain, anger, and trauma that Black America experiences every day. While we await a full investigation, we know what we need to do to move forward: rebuild trust and ensure accountability so no one is above the law.”
Speaking with reporters in the Oval Office about Wright’s death Sunday, President Biden said: “I haven’t called Daunte Wright’s family, but my prayers are with the family. It’s really a tragic thing that happened. The question is was it an accident? Was it intentional? That remains to be determined by a full-blown investigation,” he said, describing the body camera video of the shooting as “fairly graphic.”
Biden called for any protests against Wright’s shooting to remain “peaceful.”
“There is absolutely no justification, none, for looting, no justification for violence. Peaceful protests, understandable, and the fact is that, you know, we do know that the anger, pain, and trauma that exists in the Black community in that environment is real, it’s serious and it’s consequential. But it will not justify violence and/or looting,” he said.
“And we should listen to Daunte’s mom, who is calling for peace and calm,” he said.
Asked whether he would deploy federal resources to help keep the peace, Biden noted that he had already done so because of Chauvin’s trial.
“There are already federal resources,” Biden said. “There will not be a lack of help and support from the federal government if the local authorities believe it’s needed.”