The chief of police and the patrol officer who fatally shot a Black man during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, a suburb of the United States city of Minneapolis, resigned on Tuesday.
Police Chief Tim Gannon and Officer Kim Potter both resigned two days after the death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, the mayor of the town said at a news conference on Tuesday.
Potter is a white woman and Wright was a Black man. His death has sparked two nights of protests and unrest in Brooklyn Center, which is just a few miles from Minneapolis, where George Floyd was killed by police in 2020.
People in the Minneapolis area are already on edge as a trial of former Police Officer Derek Chauvin in Floyd’s death proceeds.
Wright was pulled over for what police said was an expired car registration and was then shot as police were trying to arrest him on an outstanding warrant, the Reuters news agency said.
Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott said he hoped Potter’s resignation would “bring some calm to the community”, and that he would keep working towards “full accountability under the law”, according to The Associated Press.
“We have to make sure that justice is served, justice is done. Daunte Wright deserves that, his family deserves that.”
Later on Tuesday, US President Joe Biden said he was determined to address concerns about policing, prisons and other issues affecting Black people in the country.
Speaking before a meeting with members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Biden referred to what happened in Brooklyn Center as the “God-awful shooting”. “We’re in the business – all of us meeting today – to deliver some real change,” he said.
“We have an awful lot of things that we have to deal with … when it comes to police, when it comes to massive inequality of economic opportunity.”
Potter, a 26-year member of the police force, had been on administrative leave following Sunday’s shooting. She can be heard on her body camera video shouting “Taser! Taser!” and Chief Gannon had said he believed Potter had mistakenly grabbed her gun when she intended to use a Taser.
“I’ll Tase you! I’ll Tase you! Taser! Taser! Taser!” the officer is heard shouting on her body camera footage released Monday. She draws her weapon after the man breaks free from police outside his car and gets back behind the wheel, the AP reported.
After firing a single shot from her handgun, the car speeds away, and the officer is heard saying, “Holy (expletive)! I shot him.”
In a short resignation letter, Potter said she believed it was “in the best interest of the community, the department, and my fellow officers if I resign immediately”.
Wright’s father, Aubrey Wright, told ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ on Tuesday that he rejects the explanation that Potter mistook her gun for her Taser, a non-lethal electroshock weapon also shaped like a pistol.
This is #DaunteWright and his son Duante Wright Jr.
Earlier today Duante Sr. was shot to death during a traffic stop reportedly about an air freshener obstructing a mirror.
He was 20 years old and killed by a Brooklyn Center Police Officer in MN. He was unarmed. pic.twitter.com/p3VOOiaLK8
— S. Lee Merritt, Esq. (@MeritLaw) April 12, 2021
“I lost my son. He’s never coming back. I can’t accept that. A mistake? That doesn’t even sound right. This officer has been on the force for 26 years. I can’t accept that,” he said.
Wright was a kind young man who liked basketball and had a tight-knit family, according to media interviews with his relatives, Reuters reported.
Wright’s mother, Katie Wright, told ABC that her son was an “amazing, loving kid” who “had a big heart”, loved his sisters and brothers and enjoyed playing basketball with his young son.
“He had a 2-year-old son that’s not going to be able to play basketball with him,” she said.