Minneapolis curfew can’t stop protests
Fresh protests broke out for a second night in Minneapolis despite a curfew implemented after a policewoman fatally shot a young black man when she appeared to confuse her handgun with her taser, fuelling tensions in a US city already on edge because of the George Floyd murder trial.
Hours after Monday's 9pm curfew went into effect, dozens of protesters continued to wave signs and chant slogans in front of the police station in Brooklyn Centre where Sunday’s killing occurred.
Demonstrators taunted police through newly erected wire fencing around the station, and carried signs saying “Jail all racist killer cops”, “Am I next?” and “No justice, no peace”. Police fired teargas at the protesters several times.
This was the second consecutive night of protests after 20year-old Daunte Wright was shot dead by police while driving with his girlfriend.
In police body camera video released earlier on Monday, an officer shouts “Taser! Taser! Taser!” but then instead fires a gun at the victim.
“The officer drew their handgun instead of their taser,” said Brooklyn Centre police chief Tim Gannon.
He believed the officer “had the intention to deploy their taser but instead shot Mr Wright with a single bullet”.
“This was an accidental discharge that resulted in the tragic death of Mr Wright,” Mr Gannon said. “There is nothing I can say to lessen the pain of Mr Wright’s family.”
The killing sparked protests overnight in Brooklyn Centre and the looting of a shopping mall.
In the bodycam footage, police officers are seen pulling Mr Wright out of his car after stopping him for a traffic violation and discovering he had an outstanding warrant.
When officers attempt to handcuff Mr Wright, he scuffles with them and gets back in the car. A policewoman shouts, “I’ll tase you” and then “Taser! Taser! Taser!” — standard police procedure before an officer fires one of the stun guns.
“Holy shit, I shot him,” the officer says as Mr Wright, fatally wounded, drives off. He crashed his car a few blocks away.
How the officer mistook her gun for a taser was unclear.
Mr Gannon said police are trained to place handguns “on our dominant side, and our taser on our weak side”.
Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension identified the officer as Kim Potter, a 26-year veteran of the police force.
The protests prompted the defence lawyer for former officer Derek Chauvin, who is facing murder and manslaughter charges for George Floyd’s death, to ask the judge presiding over the high-profile case to sequester the jury. Judge Peter Cahill refused, stating “this is a totally different case”.
Mr Chauvin, 45, is facing murder and manslaughter charges for his role in Floyd’s death last May, which occurred during his arrest for allegedly passing a fake $20 bill.