A town in Minnesota has been beset by protests for a second night in a row as officials released the name of the white cop who fatally killed a black man during a traffic stop – apparently after taking his gun from fist for a taser.
Constable Kim Potter, a 26-year-old Brooklyn Center Police Department veteran, has been identified as the person who shot 20-year-old Daunte Wright in the chest. Protesters flouted a curfew on Monday to take to the streets and demand that Potter be fired and charged. She was placed on “standard administrative leave,” according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
Wright’s death on Sunday sparked a series of protests unfolding against the backdrop of Derek Chauvin’s murder trial in neighboring Minneapolis, which also involved a black man, George Floyd, killed at the hands of police. People have been demonstrating outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department headquarters since Sunday; the cops used tear gas, flashbangs and rubber bullets to control the crowd. Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said on Monday that the National Guard’s presence would remain “robust” over the “next two or three days”.
Protesters remained outside long after the 7 p.m. curfew ordered by Governor Tim Walz following Wright’s fatal shooting by police. National Guard troops joined police to keep the crowds under control as night fell over a bustling city.
In body camera video carried by Potter during a fatal traffic stop on Sunday, a second cop tears Wright from the vehicle after stopping him for what police first said was a misdemeanor warrant in suspense – an explanation which they then revised. to say that Wright had in fact been arrested for having expired license plates. Wright’s mother said her son called her during the incident and told her he was arrested for having an air freshener hanging from his rearview mirror, a lawful offense in Minnesota. draws his gun and yells: “Taser, Taser!” She then shoots Wright and immediately exclaims, “Holy shit, I shot him.”
“As I watch the video and listen to the officer’s orders, I think the officer intended to deploy his taser, but instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet,” he said. Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon told reporters. The Hennepin County medical examiner said Wright died of a gunshot wound to the chest and called the mode of death “homicide.”
In 2019, Potter – who was then president of the police union – was berated by investigators for allegedly trying to cover up evidence after a police shootout that killed a 21-year-old autistic man.
“Officer Potter ordered Constables Turner and Akers to leave the residence, get into separate cars, turn off their body-worn cameras and not speak to each other,” a report released by the Hennepin County District Attorney. No charges have been laid in this case.
Potter also received praise. In 2016, she was honored to have ended a standoff the year before with a seemingly gunman threatening suicide.
The Brooklyn Center’s Minneapolis suburb was established in 1911 on land owned by a county sheriff and Ku Klux Klansman named Earle Brown, who was also a founding member of the Minnesota Highway Patrol. Brown was also vice president of the Minnesota Eugenics Society, a fiercely racist organization that promoted the sterilization of the “faint of heart.” Hennepin County, which includes the Brooklyn Center, is under curfew, as are Ramsey, Dakota, and Anoka counties. The same curfew will apply in the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, their mayors have announced.
The gunfire and continued tightening of restrictions on public demonstrations not only heightened tensions among the protesters, but also among many Muslim residents in the area. community trust and violated the Constitution, ”Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Minnesota section of the Council on US-Islamic Relations, said in a statement. “Public officials must change the curfew in order to respect freedom of religion, including the right to assemble and pray during Ramadan.”
Wright’s murder has already rocked the city government. After Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott said he believed the officer who shot and killed Wright should be fired – echoing a request made by local activists – the Brooklyn Center city manager Curt Boganey said the officer would benefit from “due process.” Elliott announced later that Boganey had been “relieved of his duties” and that Deputy City Manager Reggie Edwards would take over.
“The whole world is watching our community. We continue to be grieved as we go through the Derek Chauvin trial, ”said Elliott. “We’re going to get to the bottom of it.”
Wright had a minor criminal record, with two minor misdemeanor charges filed against him in August 2019 for selling marijuana and disorderly conduct. He has been released and is expected to appear in court this summer, according to prison records. According to Hennepin County authorities, there was in fact an outstanding arrest warrant for Wright’s arrest, which said it was issued after Wright failed to appear for a hearing on April 2. .
Wright’s family hired attorney Ben Crump, a civil rights attorney who has in the past represented the families of other victims of police misconduct, including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.
“We just want people to know that Daunte was a good kid,” the family said in a statement. “He loved being the father of Daunte Jr.”
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