The Brooklyn Center police chief and the white cop who killed Daunte Wright during a traffic stop on Sunday, after apparently mistaking his handgun for a Taser, have both resigned.
“I loved every minute of being a police officer and serving this community to the best of my ability, but I believe it is in the interest of the community, the department and my fellow police officers that I resign immediately,” officer kim potter said in a letter announcing his resignation to Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott and other city officials.
At a Tuesday afternoon press conference, Elliott also announced that Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon had resigned from the department. Tony Gruenig, a 19-year veteran, would step in as the interim chef, he said.
“I don’t have any prepared statement, I’m just trying to take a step forward and fill a leadership role right now,” Gruenig said Tuesday. “It’s very chaotic at the moment, I just got informed less than half an hour ago, or an hour ago, of the whole change of status. There is just a lot of chaos right now. He said the ministry “was just trying to figure out the situation.”
Authorities say Potter, a 26-year-old Brooklyn Center Police Department veteran, shot Wright, a 20-year-old black man, in the chest after arresting him for expired car tags.
After officers ran out of his name, they found an outstanding warrant for serious misdemeanor and attempted to take him into custody, police said. Body camera footage from the encounter shows an officer pulling Wright out of his car to handcuff him, but he then tries to get inside – causing a chaotic struggle that ends with Potter pulling out a gun and firing a single stroke.
Potter can be heard shouting “Taser Taser!” before realizing she actually used her gun. “Holy shit, I shot him,” she says in the footage.
Washington County Attorney Pete Orput said his office was conducting a “thorough but expedited” review of the case. If criminal charges are justified, his office said, they will be drafted on Tuesday or Wednesday.
In 2019, Potter – who was then president of the police union – was the first cop to arrive at the scene of a police shooting that killed a 21-year-old with autism.
“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.
The “accidental discharge” that led to Wright’s death also sparked an immediate series of violent protests in Minneapolis amid tensions over Derek Chauvin’s ongoing murder trial. For two nights, hundreds of residents took to the streets and clashed with police, who responded with tear gas and flashbangs reminiscent of protests last summer after the death of George Floyd by police.
“It is unbelievable … that the police shoot and kill another unarmed black man … in this supreme trial of Derek Chauvin,” civil rights lawyer Ben Crump, who represents the Wright family, said at the time. of a press conference on Tuesday alongside George. Floyd’s family and other local leaders who all offered their support.
Minnesota State Patrol Col. Matt Langer said on Tuesday 40 people were arrested overnight in connection with the Brooklyn Center protests while several law enforcement officers sustained minor injuries . Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said on Monday that the National Guard would remain “robust” in the city for the “next two or three days”.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Wright’s family expressed outrage at the death of the 20-year-old and criticized police for describing it as an accident.
“Every pistol has a safety. She seen she had to release it. This woman held this gun in front of her for a very long time, ”said Daunte Wright’s aunt, Naisha Wright. “My nephew’s blood is on your hands.”
Wright’s mother, Katie Wright, fondly described how she was on the phone with her son during the check-up. She said her son called her after being pulled over for an air freshener on her back window. Moments later, his girlfriend called back to tell him that her son was dead.
“I never imagined that was what was going to happen… I haven’t had any explanation since then,” said Katie Wright.
Wright’s murder has already rocked the city’s local government. After Mayor Elliott said he believed Potter should be fired – echoing a request from local activists – Brooklyn Center city manager Curt Boganey said the officer would be entitled to “procedure regular ”.
Elliott announced later that Boganey had been “relieved of his duties” and that Deputy City Manager Reggie Edwards would take over.
On Tuesday, Elliott revealed that all 49 officers from the Brooklyn Center Police Force lived out of town. He said he supported Potter’s resignation.
“I appreciate the officer resigning and saying she thought it was the right thing to do. [It’s the] the right thing for the community to do, and I couldn’t agree more, ”he said.
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