The Brooklyn Centre Police chief Tim Gannon walked out of a press conference on the death of Daunte Wright after revealing that the 20-year-old was “accidentally” shot by an officer trying to taser him.
Mr Gannon released body camera footage showing the officer shouting “taser” before shooting Mr Wright. Based on the footage, he said he believed it to be an accidental discharge.
After fielding several questions from the media, Mr Gannon left the podium before returning a few minutes later.
“I’m back, I’m sorry I left, I’m used to doing the handout with the BCA (Bureau of Criminal Apprehension) and I apologise for that,” Mr Gannon said.
“Normally the BCA steps in and they do a lot of the talk about investigations, that’s what I’m used to so I apologise for that but I’m back here now. I can answer some more questions.”
Mr Gannon said the officer, who has not been officially identified, had been placed on administrative leave but that she should be afforded due process before any decision is made on whether she is fired.
Brooklyn Centre mayor Mike Elliott said earlier in the briefing that he “fully supports” firing the officer regardless of the outcome of the investigation.
“Let me be very clear, my position is that we cannot afford to make mistakes that lead to the loss of life of other people in our profession, and so I do fully support releasing the officer of her duties,” Mr Elliott said.
Mr Wright was pulled over by police on Sunday for allegedly having expired tags on his car. Body camera footage showed a struggle as offices attempted to apply handcuffs before Mr Wright returned to the driver's seat of the car.
The officer can be heard yelling “taser, taser, taser” before firing a shot and the saying “s***, I just shot him” as the car is driven away.
Mr Gannon said Mr Wright was attempting to return to the car and leave when he was shot by the officer he described as “very senior”.
“She has the right to be heard, she has the right to give her statement, she has the right to tell what she felt, what she thought, not what I thought, not what I saw, but what she thought and she saw, and that may have an impact,” Mr Gannon said.
“She will not be returning to duty until this investigation has run its course, and for all intents and purposes I think we can look at the video and ascertain whether she’ll be returning.”