A gun is not a taser. Daunte Wright should be alive.


Photo By: Brennan Riley

At 1:53 PM, Daunte Wright and his girlfriend were pulled over due to the car’s expired tag registration on the license plate. The police officers ran Wright’s name through a police database and learned that he had an open arrest warrant, after failing to appear in court on charges that he fled during an encounter with Minneapolis police in which he possessed a gun without a permit.

Katie Wright, Mr. Wright’s mother, told reporters that her son had called her as he was being pulled over. “He said they pulled him over because he had air fresheners hanging from his rearview mirror,” she said. For that, the police began to make their arrest.

Daunte stepped out of the car at first and was put into handcuffs, but then a few minutes later began to resist arrest. As he stepped back into his car, officer Kim Potter proceeded to warn Wright that he will be tased if he does not comply. When he continued to struggle, she yelled, “Taser! Taser! Taser!” and instead of reaching for her taser, Potter discharged her firearm once using her right hand.

Despite being wounded in his upper left side, Wright continued to get in his car and drive off. After driving about 470 feet, he collided with another vehicle. Wright was pronounced dead at the scene at 2:18 p.m.

Potter’s pistol, a glock 9 mm model, was black, metal, and almost a pound heavier than her plastic Taser, described as being yellow or neon-colored, with a black grip. It is estimated that Potter was holding her gun for at least seven seconds before discharging it. While one may claim this to be a case of accidental discharge, it is important to note that a Glock has a safety system that prevents these kinds of accidents.The safety for a Glock 22 is located on the weapon’s trigger. The taser’s safety is located on the upper rear left of the weapon’s barrel.

With both a taser and a gun, you need to bring both into your line of sight in order to properly discharge the weapon. Brooklyn Center Police Chief says “we train with our handguns on our dominant side and our taser on our weak side. One is bright yellow and the other is either black or silver. So yes, you can tell the difference,” casting doubt on the ‘accidental discharge’ theory.

“It is my belief that the officer had the intention to deploy their Taser but instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet,” Chief Gannon said to MSN news. Officer Potter was charged with 2nd degree manslaughter on April 14th.The maximum sentence for the charge is a 10-year jail sentence and a $20,000 fine, according to Minnesota statutes.

On April 15th, Officer Potter was released under a $100,000 bail and is now living under 24 hour protection. The public’s reaction to the shooting and the bail of the police officer was one of disgust and uproar. Many started petitions regarding the arrest of the police officer responsible for Wright’s death. For the past few weeks large swaths of people have been flooding the streets calling for officer Potter be held accountable for her actions.

I believe that there was no excuse for officer Potter’s actions. In situations of conflict or struggle, it is the officer’s duty to deescalate the situation and not escalate them, let alone fatally wound or kill a person. The consequences of Wright’s death highlight the ever more present hostility between white officers and black men, and really emphasizes the need to speak up and call out the underlying prejudice in our society that has resulted in one too many African American deaths by police brutality.