PROTESTS FOR SECOND NIGHT IN MINNESOTA TOWN OVER POLICE SHOOTING; OFFICER REPORTEDLY MEANT TO USE STUN GUN: There were protests and clashes with police for a second night in the town of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, Monday (April 12th) after a 20-year-old Black man was shot and killed by a police officer on Sunday during a traffic stop. Police fired off gas canisters and flash-bang grenades when hundreds of protesters wouldn’t disperse last night, gathered after Governor Tim Walz had announced a dusk-to-dawn curfew. Eventually, only a few dozen remained.
Police Chief Tim Gannon said yesterday that the shooting of Daunte Wright was a, quote, “accidental discharge,” saying that the officer, identified by the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension as 26-year veteran Kim Potter, had intended to fire a Taser, not her handgun. Body cam footage released yesterday showed the officer shouting at Wright after he breaks free from police and gets back in his car, “I’ll Tase you! I’ll Tase you! Taser! Taser! Taser!” After firing one shot, the car drives away and she says, “Holy [expletive]! I shot him.”
Officials said Wright was pulled over because his car had expired registration tags. They discovered he was wanted on a warrant after failing to appear in court on charges that he fled from officers and possessed a gun without a permit during an encounter with Minneapolis police in June. When an officer tried to arrest him on the warrant, a struggle began and Wright was able to get in the car. After he was shot, the car traveled for several blocks before hitting another vehicle.
TENNESSEE STUDENT KILLED AFTER OPENING FIRE ON POLICE: A Tennessee high school student was killed by police yesterday afternoon (April 12th) after opening fire on officers responding to a report of a possible gunman. One of the officers was wounded. Police found the student in a bathroom at Austin-East Magnet High School in Knoxville and ordered him to come out. He didn’t comply, and instead opened fire. It’s not yet clear why the student, who hasn’t been publicly identified, brought the gun to school or why he fired at police.
FINAL PROSECUTION WITNESSES IN CHAUVIN TRIAL AS DEFENSE SET TO TAKE OVER TODAY: The prosecution in former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin‘s murder and manslaughter trial in the death of George Floyd called their final witnesses on Monday (April 12th), with the defense set to begin presenting its case today. Seth Stoughton, a professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law and a use-of-force expert, said Chauvin’s actions did not meet the standard of what a reasonable police officer in the same situation would have done. He said that was true not only for the way he held Floyd down with a knee on his neck for more than nine minutes, but also for failing to provide aid to Floyd as he was in medical distress, for thinking Floyd could harm officers or escape after he’d been handcuffed to the ground, and in viewing the bystanders yelling that Floyd was in distress as a threat.
Northwestern Memorial Hospital cardiology expert Dr. Jonathan Rich testified, as did previous prosecution medical experts, that Floyd died of low oxygen levels from the way he was held down by police, not from a drug overdose or heart condition. He said, in fact, “Every indicator is that Mr. Floyd had actually an exceptionally strong heart.” Floyd’s brother, 39-year-old Philonise Floyd, testified, warmly and tearfully at times, about his older brother and their lives together.
MEXICO, HONDURAS, GUATEMALA AGREE TO USE TROOPS TO REDUCE MIGRANTS COMING TO U.S.: The U.S. has reached an agreement with Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala to temporarily send troops to their borders to try to reduce the surge of migrants who’ve recently been coming to the southern U.S. border. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said yesterday (April 12th) that, quote, “the objective is to make it more difficult to make the journey, and make crossing the borders more difficult.” AP cited a White House official as saying Guatemala and Honduras were deploying troops in response to a large caravan of migrants that was being organized at the end of March.