BROOKLYN CENTER, MN—In response to the death of another unarmed Black man at the hands of Minnesota police, Brooklyn Center police chief Tim Gannon told reporters Monday that the officer who killed Daunte Wright accidentally discharged her weapon after being startled by the sight of a gun in her hand. “You have to understand that our officers’ lives are on the line every day, and anytime they see a gun right there in front of them, they only have a split second to react to the potential threat,” said Gannon, adding that the bodycam footage showed that a handgun abruptly appeared in the officer’s field of vision, causing her to open fire during what would otherwise have been a routine traffic stop and arrest of an individual with an outstanding warrant. “When the officer looked down and saw a firearm pointed at an innocent person, she didn’t have time to think about who was holding the gun or what their motivations were. She simply responded, as many officers would, with deadly force. While the result of that decision has been unfortunate, she was acting on a completely understandable instinct.” Gannon added that because the person holding the gun had indeed been a threat to the safety of others involved in the encounter, the officer had not, technically, violated any codes of conduct by firing.
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