Police explain taser, gun differences after former Minnesota officer shoots Black man

Police explain taser, gun differences after former Minnesota officer shoots Black man

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - The white former Minnesota police officer who fatally shot a Black man during a traffic stop was arrested for second-degree manslaughter Wednesday.

Kim Potter, 48, says she meant to grab her taser and not her gun during a traffic stop that ended with a 20-year-old Daunte Wright’s death, the former Brooklyn Center police chief said in an Associated Press report.

Potter is heard on bodycam yelling, “I’ll Tase you! I’ll Tase you! Taser! Taser! Taser!” before firing a single shot, the AP reported.

Norwood Police Lt. Ron Murphy talked with FOX19 NOW on how Potter grabbed her gun, thinking it was the taser.

“In this case, again it’s just incredibly tragic, I mean it appears from the video that she thought for sure she had her taser in her hand,” said Lt. Murphy.

Norwood police no longer carry tasers, according to Murphy.

When they did though, Murphy said officers went through training to try to prevent a gun from being used instead of the taser.

“And when we were still carrying tasers, we would address that in training,” said Lt. Murphy. “We would carry it on the other side, what we call the weak side, which is opposite from where you carry your gun, so things like that hopefully wouldn’t happen.”

A gun and a taser have physical differences, from the weight to the material.

“But the weight of a taser is still considerably lighter,” said Lt. Murphy. “It’s [taser] all plastic, for the most part, the only thing metal is the wire. A handgun, they can be all metal. Handguns, there are some guns that have composites or plastics, but the weight of a gun would definitely be heavier than the weight of a taser.”

Wright was pulled over for expired tags, but officers tried to arrest him after discovering he had an outstanding warrant, according to the AP.

Wright is seen in the police video standing outside his car as another officer is arresting him.

The 20-year-old and officers then get into a struggle, which is when Potter fires her gun.

Lt. Murphy said an encounter like this is an appropriate time to use the taser.

“Let’s use that situation that happened in Minnesota. I mean, a taser, in theory, would’ve been appropriate because this gentleman was trying to get back in his car,” Murphy explained. “Maybe a pursuit would’ve happened, but they’re trying to tase him to get him into custody and use as little force as necessary.”

Lt. Murphy said using a taser is very different from using deadly force.

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