Police Chief: Officer fired gun, instead of Taser in death of Minnesota man

A police officer in Minnesota is on administrative leave after investigators said she killed a man by deploying a gun, instead of a Taser.

The officer who shot and killed 20-year-old Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center Sunday afternoon was identified as Kim Potter by the Minnesota BCA Monday night. 
We talked to experts about both weapons. They say it's very possible to mix up a gun with an older Taser. In fact, they showed us how similar they look when side by side.

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The Host of Arms Room Radio, Mike Piwowarski, discussed how Tasers have changed through the years.  

"Over the years, Tasers have evolved from looking like regular guns to making them not look and feel like guns -- to try and keep this from happening. Yet it continues to happen," he explains.

In Wright’s death, the police chief says his officer was trained properly in using a Taser, but she accidentally discharged the gun.
Piwowarski isn’t sure what kind of Taser was used in this most recent shooting, but he says it’s possible for a gun to get mistaken for a Taser.

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"If you have an agency that’s 10 years behind on updating its equipment, that’s how this could happen. They’re still using the old equipment."

He adds that a Taser costs just as much as a gun -- around $400 to $500.

Arms Room Radio Co-host Earl Boone says manufacturers are now painting many of the Tasers bright yellow.

"They’re doing all they can to make them look as much not like a firearm, so they can avoid this confusion as best as possible," he says.

Piwowarski says, back in 2009, a similar deadly incident occurred in California in which two officers were on the ground and wrestling a 22-year-old man when an officer fired a gun.

"Went to pull the Taser out, yelled 'Taser!' and then pulled the trigger and it was the gun"

Piwowarski says it's important for police departments to have the money for the proper equipment and proper training. He says he is concerned as more people advocate defunding police departments.

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