I’m a little bit late to the party in talking about the latest cop-related shooting death of a suspect, but I feel like being late to these circumstances is actually beneficial to getting all the important information that is out there and understanding the situation as best as possible.
First, to give context for those who are fairly unfamiliar with this story, Daunte Wright, 20, was shot and killed at around 2 p.m. on Sunday after resisting arrest and attempting to flee officers. He was originally pulled over for expired tags on his plate and was asked to step out of the car and arrested due to an outstanding warrant regarding an illegal possession of a firearm and fleeing from police.
There is a narrative out there that he was stopped because of air freshener in his vehicle, which is ridiculous and unsubstantiated.
Initial reports seemed to indicate that Wright had gotten in his vehicle, at which point officers began to open fire on him, eventually striking him and killing him, but recently released bodycam footage (below) depicts a different story entirely.
Police bodycam footage shows three police officers at the scene, two male officers and a female officer, whose bodycam footage is being used. In the minute-long video, we see Wright being asked to step out of the vehicle, which he did, and a male officer beginning to place him in cuffs. What is strange about this is that the male officer appears to be having some sort of difficulty with placing Wright in cuffs. Typical police procedure for an arrest is that an officer will search the suspect before placing them in cuffs, so as to ensure that the suspect does not have anything that could poke, stick, hurt or otherwise inconvenience the arresting officer.
I mention this because, from the looks of it, the male officer was in the process of placing Wright in cuffs and sort of hesitated, possibly because he was asking about what Wright was carrying. I say “possibly” because the video doesn’t have good audio quality, so it’s very difficult to understand what people are saying. I could only really make out one thing that was said later on by the female officer, but that’s because she shouted it, while the rest was spoken in a normal tone of voice.
At any rate, at one point, the female officer begins to approach Wright, possibly to try and keep Wright from performing motions and actions that would be a threat to the officers, and seemingly reaches into something that was on Wright’s back. From the angle of the camera, I can’t tell what exactly it is that she was doing, and appears to hold something on her left hand which looks like some sort of business card, though, again, I can’t really tell what it was.
It was at that point, when the female officer was reaching for something behind Wright, that Wright had managed to free himself from the officers’ grasp (for the most part), and attempted to get in his vehicle and flee the scene. He was still somewhat being held by the male officer, who was trying to pull him out of the vehicle with little success, while the female officer repeatedly warned Wright that she would tase him.
At that point, the female officer pulled out her gun, seemingly believing it to have been her taser, and shouted “Taser! Taser!” as officers tend to do when they are about to taser someone, and only realized that it was her lethal pistol once she had discharged it.
Now, again, the audio quality is bad, which brings me to an issue I have: It kind of sounds like multiple shots (no more than two or three) were fired. It could just be the reverberation of the audio waves that makes it sound like it’s more than one shot, but it does sound like it’s more than one. Given how I don’t know for sure, I won’t hard accuse the female officer of actually having tried to kill Wright, but allow me to at least say this: It becomes a LOT more difficult to claim it was an accident and that she thought it was a taser if she fired multiple times.
Tase guns use prongs that deliver a shock of electricity to immobilize a suspect. They can only be fired once, and if an officer misses, they have to reload the thing. If she, indeed, pulled the trigger more than once, she likely knew it was her gun and not her taser.
However, like I said, the audio quality is bad and I can’t definitively tell if it was one shot or a maximum of three. We will have to wait for an autopsy report to see if there is more than one bullet hole on Wright’s body (entry holes, that is) to see what exactly happened.
Now, with that being said, it’s hard to say that the fault doesn’t lie in both parties present.
Daunte Wright had an outstanding warrant and he was about to be arrested. If he was intending on fleeing from the police, why did he step out of his car in the first place? Even from a criminal’s perspective, what he did made no sense. And from a civilian’s perspective, it makes no sense that he would try to flee. He shouldn’t have attempted to escape police because that only leads to further problems.
So the fault definitely lies on Wright for his idiotic, at best, actions.
But the fault also lies with the female officer. Let’s assume that she did, indeed, think her gun was her taser and it was all accidental, as appears to be the case from the evidence we have. How, exactly, did she think her gun was her taser?
I get that, in the heat of the moment, things can be a bit of a blur, which can facilitate accidents like this one appears to be. But a police officer, especially as senior an officer as the female cop is reported to be, should be able to tell very quickly if she is holding her gun or her taser. A loaded firearm and a taser gun do NOT weigh the same and definitely don’t look the same. Even arguing that she might have been paying more attention to the suspect than what she was holding, so she might not have seen that what she was holding was a black pistol and not the usual yellow taser gun that cops tend to have, she still should’ve been able to tell that what she was holding FELT DIFFERENT from a taser.
An article on Daily Kos puts this well: “[A] taser weighs about eight ounces. Eight ounces is a large bag of chips… In physical terms, picking up a weapon that weighs eight ounces, would take 3.57 newtons of force. A standard police issue 9mm semi-automatic pistol with a full magazine, weighs about 2.6 pounds. A loaded Glock .22 about the same. This takes 11.57 newtons, or a bit over three times the amount of force.”
In other words, a taser gun is FAR lighter than a loaded standard issue police pistol and a pistol takes more force to draw and aim. This matters because officers ought to be knowledgeable of things like these, as they are TRAINED to use their guns and their tasers, so they know best how they feel in drawing and aiming, especially as the female officer was aiming her gun with a single hand, which would make the weight of the pistol more noticeable.
So there is little real excuse for the officer to not have known she was using her pistol as opposed to her taser, especially for someone who, again, reports say is pretty senior.
Daunte Wright was an idiot for doing what he did, but he should still be alive. In jail, absolutely, but alive. That he isn’t is partly his fault but more so the fault of the female officer, who should have known better than almost everyone how a pistol feels in her hand as opposed to her taser.
Now, again, I won’t hard accuse the female officer of having tried to kill Wright. It is entirely possible that this really was just an accident. However, there is also evidence that suggests it wasn’t, which is HORRIBLE. At best she made a MASSIVE mistake which should cost her her job (She has resigned, which I think is good) and at worst she sought the opportunity to kill someone who shouldn’t have been killed.
Again, Wright was an idiot for resisting arrest and attempting to flee, but unless he was a physical threat to any of the officers, he didn’t deserve to get shot and killed.
I generally prefer to defend the officers in these situations either because the circumstances clearly show they are innocent or at least because they deserve due process and presumption of innocence, but when a cop messes up, they have to be called out on it. No one can tell me that the female officer didn’t make a mistake or that she did everything right. She messed up, accidental or intentional. Accountability for her actions, either way, is necessary.
At the same time, it’s even more idiotic for people to go out on the streets and loot and riot, but Leftist pawns will do as their masters tell them, so that’s a different topic in itself.
But both Wright and the female officer are at fault for what transpired. Had Wright not blatantly broken the law and resisted arrest and tried to flee from the scene, he would still be alive. Had the female officer not been at the very least highly incompetent and been able to tell the difference in weight between a taser gun and a lethal gun, Wright would also still be alive and she wouldn’t have been placed on administrative leave with her job on the line.
The fault lies with both of them. Maybe to different extents, and one can argue one way or the other for both, but both definitely are at fault here.
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