President Joe Biden on Monday called for “peace and calm” in the wake of the”tragic” fatal police shooting of Daunte Wright in Minnesota.
“I haven’t called Daunte Wright’s family, but my prayers are with the family. It’s really a tragic thing that happened,” Biden told reporters in the Oval Office of Wright’s death Sunday. “The question is, was it an accident? Was it intentional? That remains to be determined by a full-blown investigation,” he said, describing the body-camera footage of the shooting as “fairly graphic.”
Wright, 20, was shot after he was pulled over in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center for allegedly having an air freshener hanging from his rear-view mirror, which is illegal in Minnesota, according to Wright’s mother, who’d spoken to her son before the shooting. Police said Monday he was stopped for a traffic violation. Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said he believes, based on the body camera footage, that the officer who shot Wright mistakenly believed she was firing a taser and not her gun.
The shooting took place about 14 miles north of where George Floyd was killed last year, as former police officer Derek Chauvin is standing trial for Floyd’s murder. Floyd’s death set off a wave of protests across the country last year, some of which led to rioting and looting.
Biden called for any protests to Wright’s shooting to remain “peaceful,” echoing a plea from Wright’s mother.
“There is absolutely no justification, none, for looting, no justification for violence. Peaceful protests, understandable, and the fact is that, you know, we do know, that the anger, pain, and trauma that exists in the Black community in that environment is real, it’s serious, and it’s consequential. But it will not justify violence and/or looting,” he said.
“And we should listen to Daunte’s mom, who is calling for peace and calm,” he said.
Asked if he’d deploy federal resources to help keep the peace if necessary, Biden noted that he’d already done so because of the Chauvin trial.
“There are already federal resources,” Biden said. “There will not be a lack of help and support from the federal government if the local authorities believe it’s needed.”
Emma Thorne contributed.