President Joe Biden called for “peace and calm” Monday 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 about 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 video of the shooting as “fairly graphic.”
Wright, 20, was shot and killed by a police officer Sunday after he was pulled over in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center. According to Wright’s mother, who had spoken to her son before the shooting, he was pulled over for having an air freshener hanging from his rearview mirror, which is illegal in Minnesota.
Police said Monday that he was stopped for a traffic violation. Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said he believes, based on the body camera video, that the officer who shot Wright mistakenly believed she was firing a Taser and not her gun.
Wright was shot about 14 miles north of where George Floyd was killed last year; former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin is on trial charged with second- and third-degree murder. Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes.
Floyd’s death set off a wave of protests across the country last year. Some led to rioting and looting, but most were largely peaceful.
Biden called for any protests against 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.
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“And we should listen to Daunte’s mom, who is calling for peace and calm,” he said.
Asked whether he would deploy federal resources to help keep the peace, Biden noted that he had already done so because of Chauvin’s 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.”
Biden said later on Twitter, “While we await a full investigation, we know what we need to do to move forward: rebuild trust and ensure accountability so no one is above the law.”