Minnesota police officer, chief quit following shooting death of Black driver
A white Minnesota police officer who fatally shot a Black man during a traffic stop in a Minneapolis suburb and the city's chief of police resigned Tuesday.
Officer Kim Potter and Police Chief Tim Gannon both resigned two days after the death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center. Potter, a 26-year veteran, had been on administrative leave following Sunday’s shooting.
Gannon has said he believed Potter mistakenly grabbed her gun when she was going for her Taser. She can be heard on her body camera video shouting “Taser! Taser!”
“Whenever, through the line of duty, someone kills another human being, there must be accountability,” Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott told the “Today” show earlier Tuesday.
Activists and some residents say Wright was racially profiled, and his death has sparked two days of clashes between police and protesters. The shooting happened as the Minneapolis area was already on edge over the trial of the first of four police officers in George Floyd’s death.
Wright was shot as police were trying to arrest him on an outstanding warrant.
“I’ll Tase you! I’ll Tase you! Taser! Taser! Taser!” the officer is heard shouting on her body cam footage released Monday. She draws her weapon after the man breaks free from police outside his car and gets back behind the wheel.
After firing a single shot from her handgun, the car speeds away, and the officer is heard saying, “Holy (expletive)! I shot him.”
Wright died of a gunshot wound to the chest, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office said.
Potter has experience with investigations into police shootings. Potter was one of the first officers to respond after Brooklyn Center police fatally shot a man who allegedly allegedly tried to stab an officer with a knife in August 2019, according to a report from the Hennepin County Attorney's Office.
After medics arrived, she told the two officers who shot the man to get into separate squad cars, turn off their body cameras, and not to speak to each other. She was also the police union president for the department and accompanied two other officers involved in the shooting while investigators interviewed them.
Court records show Wright was being sought after failing to appear in court on charges that he fled from officers and possessed a gun without a permit during an encounter with Minneapolis police in June.
Demonstrators began to gather shortly after the shooting, with some jumping atop police cars.
On Monday, hundreds of protesters gathered hours after a dusk-to-dawn curfew was announced by the governor. When protesters wouldn't disperse, police began firing gas canisters and flash-bang grenades, sending clouds wafting over the crowd and chasing some protesters away. Forty people were arrested, Minnesota State Patrol Col. Matt Langer said at a news conference early Tuesday. In Minneapolis, 13 arrests were made, including for burglaries and curfew violations, police said.
Brooklyn Center is a modest suburb just north of Minneapolis that has seen its demographics shift dramatically in recent years. In 2000, more than 70% of the city was white. Today, a majority of residents are Black, Asian or Latino.
Wright's death prompted protests in other U.S. cities, including in Portland, Oregon, where police said a demonstration turned into a riot Monday night, with some in the crowd throwing rocks and other projectiles at officers.
By MOHAMED IBRAHIM and MIKE HOUSEHOLDER, Associated Press.