April 12, 2021

"After the officer fired, she is heard on the video saying, 'Holy shit. I just shot him.'"

From "Minnesota Officer Who Shot Daunte Wright Meant to Fire Taser, Chief Says/Officials from Brooklyn Center said that the fatal shooting was an 'accidental discharge,' and released body-camera video of the encounter" (NYT). 

“It is my belief that the officer had the intention to deploy their Taser, but instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet,” Chief Tim Gannon of the Brooklyn Center Police Department said of the shooting on Sunday of Daunte Wright, 20, during a traffic stop. “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 a tragic death of Mr. Wright.”... 

Chief Gannon said that Mr. Wright had been initially pulled over because of an expired registration on the vehicle he was driving. The video showed a brief struggle between Mr. Wright and police officers before one of the officers fired her gun.

The topic of race does not come up until the 5th paragraph of this article, where we are told: "Mr. Wright was Black. City officials did not identify the race of the police officer." The gender of the officer is revealed in the first paragraph, but only by way of the pronoun "her." The quoted statement from the police chief avoids pronouns.

It's hard to fathom the incompetence that would be necessary to mix up your taser and your gun. How is it possible that these 2 items are shaped and positioned in a manner that would allow them to be confused? 

FROM THE EMAIL: I received a lot of email on this post, most of it from readers who saw the mixup as something that just can happen, because the 2 devices are shaped similarly and the police officer is under pressure. Some said that the taser is usually positioned on the opposite side of the body from the gun, so that you'd know you have to reach across to the other side to get the gun. One reader said the news has now reported that the police officer in this incident did have the taser properly positioned on the other side of her body. But here's the one email I wanted to post in full, from Mattman26:

The tragic incompetence of the taser-gun mixup ain’t the half of it. Watch the guy trying to cuff Daunte. What’s with all the fumbling around? Cuffs are designed to be slapped on; they practically close themselves around the wrist. What on earth was that cop doing? Had he never done this before? And more crucial: Why on earth would you be trying to cuff a wanted man in the open doorway of a running car? The incompetence is staggering.