CHICAGO (CBS) — There was outrage in the Minneapolis area Monday following another deadly police killing.
An officer in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn center killed Daunte Wright, 20, on Sunday. Police said Wright was pulled over for an expired license plate, and officers found he had a warrant – so they tried to arrest him.READ MORE: Multiple Juveniles Arrested After Large Gathering, Fights Near Millennium Park
The police chief said when Wright tried to escape, an officer shot him accidentally – thinking she was using a Taser weapon. He later died.
David Harris, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, has testified in front of Congress and has written extensively on traffic stops and minorities. Noting that the Brooklyn Center police chief called the mixup between the gun and the stun gun a “mistake,” CBS 2’s Irika Sargent on Monday asked Harris if it was possible for such a mistake to happen.READ MORE: 1 Dead, 3 Injured In Shootings On Near West Side
“It is possible. Unfortunately, it happened in one very high-profile case – the death of Oscar Grant on the Oakland-San Francisco subway system – which became the subject of the ‘Fruitvale Station’ movie. But it’s very unfortunate,” Harris said. “Your training should be all over this, and it is a catastrophic accident when you not only mistake gun for Taser, but you pull the trigger.”
The Wright shooting comes amid several other cases in the headlines involving the use of deadly force by police. Not far away within the city of Minneapolis, former officer Derek Chauvin is on trial for killing George Floyd. Meanwhile in Chicago, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability has said it plans to release body cam video of the shooting by an officer that killed Adam Toledo, 13, in Little Village two weeks ago.
Sargent asked Harris what needs to happen in such cases to bring calm to communities.MORE NEWS: University of Chicago To Host Public Memorial For Civil Rights Activist Timuel D. Black
“First off, we shouldn’t be involving the police in minor offenses such as an inspired tag or an air freshener off a rearview mirror. We have to minimize police contacts at all costs. Number two, we have to train our police to use force less often,” Harris said. “That’s nub of it right there. The more times police use force, the more things can escalate to a deadly level.”