Daunte Wright was a 20-year-old black father who was murdered during a traffic stop on April 11, 2021.
The murder occurred in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. The tensions were already high, as Mr. Wright’s death occurred only about 11 miles from Minneapolis where ex-police officer Derek Chauvin is standing trial for the murder of George Floyd.
According to Chief Tim Gannon of the Brooklyn Center Police Department, who has now resigned from his position, when Mr. Wright was pulled over on that fateful Sunday afternoon for hanging air fresheners on his rearview mirror, the officers on scene discovered he had an arrest warrant for missing a court appearance.
Daunte Wright was shot and killed by police officer Kim Potter, a 48-year-old mother who claims she mistook her gun for her taser. She also recently resigned from the police department and is now being charged with second-degree murder. These charges mean that Officer Potter’s killing of Mr. Wright was not premeditated, or was caused by her reckless conduct and negligence that displayed an obvious lack of concern for human life.
Let’s get one thing straight.
Officer Potter had been on the force for 26 years. And yet, she just happened to mistake her taser for her gun?
A taser weighs around 0.45 pounds while a gun weighs around 1.38 pounds, which is a pretty significant weight difference. Guns are also located on the dominant side of the officer with the taser on the opposite side in order to prevent any mix-up. Tasers are also usually colored to help differentiate them from firearms, have a different grip, and usually don't have a safety trigger that guns have.
Police training in the United States needs to change for this exact reason. There is a severe lack of training for tasers, but a large emphasis on guns. Officers are being trained that when presented with the possibility of danger, that their firearm is their best friend. This creates "motor memory" so when situations arise that could potentially be dangerous, officers' motor memories will kick in and immediately go for their gun. For the Brooklyn Center police department specifically, their manual requires officers to position their tasers "in a reaction-side holster on the side opposite the duty weapon." It also says that police officers must be trained at least annually and that the training should include "performing reaction-hand draws or cross-draws to reduce the possibility of accidentally drawing and firing a firearm." If this is the case, then Kim Potter shouldn't have been in a place where this fatal mix-up could have occurred and Daunte Wright would still be alive today.
There is absolutely no reason as to why a veteran cop such as Kim Potters would have "accidentally" made this kind of mistake. In general, any cop who could make such a careless mistake that results in the murder of an innocent person should not be employed on the force in the first place.