Police Chief, Officer Who Shot Black Motorist In Minneapolis Suburb Resign

MINNESOTA, USA - APRIL 13: Activist Nola Darling talks on the megaphone in front of the Brooklyn Center police station at a protest over the police killing of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, U.S., on Apr... MINNESOTA, USA - APRIL 13: Activist Nola Darling talks on the megaphone in front of the Brooklyn Center police station at a protest over the police killing of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, U.S., on April 13, 2021. (Photo by Christopher Mark Juhn/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images) MORE LESS
April 13, 2021 3:49 p.m.

The officer who fatally shot a Black motorist Sunday, and the police chief who said the shooting was accidental, have both resigned from their jobs in a suburb north of Minneapolis. 

Kim Potter, the police officer who shot 20-year-old Daunte Wright after threatening to tase him during a traffic stop, said in a brief resignation statement to Brooklyn Center, Minneapolis officials that “I believe it is in the best interest of the community, the department, and my fellow officers if I resign immediately.” 

Potter had been with the Brooklyn Center Police Department for 26 years, according to a statement from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) identifying her. The BCA is leading the investigation into Wright’s death. 

Potter also served as union president for her department’s officers, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported

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Yet despite her lengthy experience on the force, Potter apparently confused her gun and her Taser before fatally shooting Wright on Sunday. Body camera footage shared on Monday by Brooklyn County Police Chief Tim Gannon — who has also resigned his position — showed police attempting to place handcuffs on Wright before Potter threatened to user her Taser on him. 

Wright’s death has been ruled a homicide, the result of a gunshot wound to the chest, according to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner.

Informed of Potter’s resignation Tuesday, Wright’s aunt Naisha Wright said Potter ought to face jailtime.

“Put her in jail, like they would do any one of us,” Naisha Wright said. “They would put us under that jail cell! It wouldn’t be no accident. It’d be murder.”

Gannon said at Monday’s press briefing that “as I watch the video and listen to the officer’s commands, it is my belief that the officer had the intention to deploy their Taser, but instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet.” 

“This appears, to me, from what I’ve viewed and the officer’s reaction and distress immediately after, that this was an accidental discharge that resulted in a tragic death of Mr. Wright,” he said. 

Gannon also defended the heavy police response to protesters and some property destruction on Sunday after Potter shot Wright. Police used tear gas, rubber bullets and flash bang grenades on protesters. Gannon said projectiles were being thrown at police from the crowd. 

Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott also announced Monday evening that city manager Curt Boganey, who had direct authority over the police department, would be leaving his office as well. At Monday’s press conference, Elliott said he believed Potter — who at that point had not been named — should be relieved of her duties, while Boganey said she was owed “due process.” 

During a press conference Tuesday, Elliott noted the resignations and said the city council had voted to put the command of the police department under the office of the mayor.

“I’m hoping that this will help bring some calm to the community,” he said of Potter’s resignation. 

“Although, I think ultimately people want justice. They want full accountability under the law and so that’s what we’re going to continue to work for.” 

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