Cop, police chief resign two days after black motorist's deathWednesday, April 14, 2021
MINNESOTA, United States (AP) — 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 yesterday, moves that the mayor said he hoped would help heal the community and lead to reconciliation after two nights of protests and unrest.
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, which happened as the Minneapolis area was already on edge over the trial of the first of four police officers in George Floyd's death.
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!”
Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott said he was “appreciative” that Potter submitted her resignation but that he had not asked for it. Elliott said he was not sure if it was because she had heard that she would soon be fired. He said he hoped her resignation would “bring some calm to the community”, but that he would keep working towards “full accountability under the law”.
“That's what we're going to continue to work for,” Elliott said. “We have to make sure that justice is served, justice is done. Daunte Wright deserves that, his family deserves that.”
The mayor said the new police leadership was committed to working with community leaders and protesters, who say Wright was racially profiled.
“We're hoping that we're turning over a new leaf now,” he said. “I'm confident of that now.”
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.”
Potter, a 26-year veteran, sent a one-paragraph letter of resignation.
“I have 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 best interest of the community, the department, and my fellow officers if I resign immediately,” Potter wrote.
Wright's father, Aubrey Wright, told ABC's Good Morning America yesterday that he rejected the explanation that Potter mistook her gun for her taser.
“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.
Protests erupted for a second night following Sunday's shooting, heightening anxiety in an area already on edge as the Derek Chauvin trial progresses. Floyd, a black man, died May 25 after Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee against Floyd's neck.
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