Startled Minnesota officer apparently intended to use Taser, not gun, on Black man, according to police chief.
A witness has told Al Jazeera that she believes police took too long before beginning to administer medical care to Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man who was fatally shot by a police officer during a traffic stop near the US city of Minneapolis last week.
Kimberly Potter, who stepped down from the police force after the incident, was charged with second-degree manslaughter in Wright’s shooting in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.
Potter has said she mistakenly fired the handgun when she meant to use a Taser.
Police say Wright was pronounced dead at the scene after being given medical attention that was ultimately unsuccessful.
The medical examiner determined Wright died of a single gunshot wound to the chest, ruling the death a homicide.
Carolyn Hanson, a woman who lives near where the incident took place, said she rushed out of her house that day when she heard what was happening.
“They (police) waited at least four minutes before they got him out of the car,” Hanson told Al Jazeera.
“They got her (Wright’s girlfriend) out of the vehicle and they didn’t get him out right away.”
Hanson said she does not understand what took so long for the police to act.
“I feel that if you shot him and you recognise and you realise you shot him and shouldn’t have done that, then why isn’t your number one priority to go and get him and try and save his life and give him a chance at life?” she said.
“Why aren’t you doing that?”
The Wright family’s lawyer, Ben Crump, said Hanson’s account demonstrates the need to review all possible evidence from the incident.
“This proves we need to see all of the bodycam video from all of the officers to see if the police officer rendered aid immediately for Daunte Wright that would have possibly saved his life,” Crump told Al Jazeera.
Police said Wright was pulled over for expired tags, but they sought to arrest him after discovering he had an outstanding warrant.
The warrant was for his failure 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.
Body camera video shows Wright struggling with police after they say they are going to arrest him.
Potter, a 26-year police veteran, pulled her service pistol and can be heard yelling “Taser!” three times before she fires. She then said: “Holy s**t, I shot him.”
If convicted, Potter faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. She was released on a $100,000 bond hours after her arrest on Wednesday.
Her next court appearance is set for May 17.
Protesters rallied outside the Brooklyn Center police station after Wright’s death to demand accountability for what happened.
The incident coincided with the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, charged in the death of George Floyd last May. Jury deliberations in that case began on Monday.
Floyd’s death set off nationwide protests under the Black Lives Matter banner, with demonstrators demanding an end to racial injustice and police violence against Black people.