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Black man killed in Minnesota, Black Army Lt. pepper-sprayed in Virginia | Controversial traffic stops prompt nationwide protests

One officer shouted “Taser,” indicating she planned to deploy a less-lethal device, but used her firearm instead, killing Daunte Wright.

SAN DIEGO — Two controversial traffic stops fueled protests over the weekend. 

Over the weekend, Daunte Wright was stopped by police in Brooklyn Center, Minn. Officers tried to arrest him when they realized he had an outstanding warrant, but it appeared he tried to get back into his vehicle. 

One officer shouted “Taser,” indicating she planned to deploy a less-lethal device, but used her firearm instead, killing Wright.

“They can clearly hear the officer yell 'Taser' prior to what he believed would fire the Taser and turned out to be a firearm,” said Ret. Chief David Bejarano, who used to head the Chula Vista Police Department. “[Investigators] will be looking at the actions of suspects and there was some resistance it appeared by the limited information we have that the Taser would have been the appropriate less-lethal weapon to use and would have probably ended with the suspect being subdued and controlled and once again a tragic mistake.” 

Also, this weekend video of a traffic stop from December was released by the attorney of an Army lieutenant in Virginia. Caron Nazario was driving home when he was stopped by police in Windsor, Va. Officers drew their weapons and used pepper spray.  

Nazario filed a lawsuit against the city and officers. One of the officers was later fired after an investigation. 

“Nowadays you have the luxury of additional tools being able to see video and interaction between the citizen and police officer,” said Bejarano of the investigation. “There’s a lot of factors in place but normally those are a few weeks to complete a very thorough comprehensive investigation.” 

Virginia officials demanded a further review of what happened.  

Meanwhile, in Minnesota, officials pledged a transparent investigation into Wright’s death. Protesters took to the streets demanding justice and policing reform. 

“I’ve seen more reform here in the last couple years going in the right direction as far as focusing on de-escalation and implicit bias training,” said Bejarano. “We have to be careful and try to step away from there and continue to try to enhance using tools, training, hiring the right officers and building that trust in the community because this is one too many fatal incidents that we continue to see involving police and citizen contacts.” 

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