daunte wright

Brooklyn Center Police Chief and Officer Who Fatally Shot Daunte Wright Resign

Naisha Wright, aunt of Daunte Wright, speaks at a press conference Tuesday, surrounded by members of George Floyd’s family. Photo: Getty Images

Kim Potter, the police officer who shot and killed 20-year-old Daunte Wright during a traffic stop Sunday in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota resigned on Tuesday. Mayor Mike Elliott announced that Police Chief Tim Gannon has resigned as well.

“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 in her resignation letter, as reported by the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Potter fatally shot Wright on Sunday during a traffic stop in the Minneapolis suburb. During a press conference on Monday, Gannon said it appeared that the officer intended to use her Taser, but instead made an “accidental discharge” from her firearm.

Gannon said officers stopped Wright and a passenger in a car with expired license-plate tags on Sunday night. After running Wright’s identification, officers found an outstanding warrant for an unspecified gross misdemeanor. One officer removed Wright from the car to take him into custody.

Body-camera footage showed what happened next: Wright stepped out of the driver’s side of the vehicle, with his arms and hands held behind his back. As an officer maneuvered handcuffs behind Wright, he broke free and jumped into the driver’s seat. Potter pointed a weapon at Wright during a struggle with another officer, and yelled, “Taser! Taser! Taser!” She then fired a single shot, which was not from a Taser but from a firearm. “Holy shit, I just shot him!” she yelled in apparent surprise as Wright peeled away in the car. He traveled some distance before he struck another vehicle. Officers caught up to him and administered first aid, officials said, but Wright died of his injuries. Wright’s passenger, described as his girlfriend, was reportedly uninjured.

(Warning: Graphic video.)

“As I watched the video and listened to the officer’s commands, it is my belief that the officer intended to deploy their Taser but instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet,” Gannon said. Later on Monday, the Hennepin County medical examiner ruled that that the cause of death was homicide by gunshot wound to the chest.

Potter, a 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center police force, was suspended pending the results of an investigation by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Potter previously served as president of her police union — a role that involved representing other officers who have shot and killed people on the job, as KSTP reported.

On Tuesday, Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott requested that Governor Tim Walz transfer the investigation from the local prosecutor to the office of the state attorney general Keith Ellison “to ensure transparency.” Also on Tuesday, the Washington County Attorney’s Office said charges against Potter could be announced as soon as Wednesday.

Following the news of Wright’s death, hundreds of people gathered to protest, and after a night of unrest, including looting, the National Guard was called in and a curfew was declared. The shooting comes less than a year after George Floyd’s killing by police approximately ten miles away, and while the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, the officer allegedly responsible for Floyd’s death, is underway.

Wright’s mother said that Daunte had called her while the traffic stop took place, claiming that police had pulled him over because he had air fresheners in his car. She called for calm on Sunday afternoon, telling a crowd that gathered near the site of the shooting, “We want justice for Daunte. We don’t want it to be about all this violence.”

Later, hundreds of protesters gathered at the town’s police station. Though the scene was largely peaceful, some threw water bottles and rocks at police, who responded with tear gas and stun grenades.

National Guard troops and Minnesota State Patrol officers arrived late Sunday night. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that looting at a nearby shopping mall was widespread overnight, with several businesses “completely destroyed.”

A curfew was instituted until Monday morning. No injuries were reported on the first night of demonstrations.

The town’s mayor said on Twitter that “our entire community is filled with grief” over the shooting, while urging protesters to remain peaceful. Minnesota governor Tim Walz said he was “closely monitoring the situation” and “praying for Daunte Wright’s family.”

On Monday afternoon, it was announced that games involving the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves and Major League Baseball’s Minnesota Twins would both be postponed as a result of the shooting. The Timberwolves’ game against the Brooklyn Nets is now expected to be played Tuesday afternoon.

On the second night of protests, police released tear gas into crowds of demonstrators at the Brooklyn Center Police Department.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that 40 people were arrested at the protest in Brooklyn Center Monday night with 13 people being taken into custody in Minneapolis. Governor Walz announced that there will be no curfew for Tuesday night.

Aubrey Wright and Katie Wright, Daunte’s parents, spoke to Robin Roberts on Good Morning America on Tuesday. Aubrey recalled the moment he learned about what happened to his son.

“I got word from my wife. She called me and she was screaming and telling me what was going on. It was a normal day for us, it started off as a normal day,” he said.

When asked by Roberts what the police had told him about what happened, Aubrey said, “I haven’t talked much to the police at all. They pretty much haven’t given us any information at all.”

Daunte’s father said that he doesn’t accept that his son’s death was just a mistake.

“I cannot accept that. I lost my son. He’s never coming back. I can’t accept that. A mistake? That doesn’t even sound right. This officer that’s been on the force for 26 years, I can’t accept that,” Aubrey said.

“I cannot accept that. I lost my son. He’s never coming back. I can’t accept that. A mistake? That doesn’t even sound right. This officer that’s been on the force for 26 years, I can’t accept that,” Aubrey said.

Daunte’s mother Katie said she would like to see “justice served and her held accountable for everything that she’s taken from us.”

She described her son as “an amazing, loving kid” with a “big and bright” smile that would light up a room.

This post has been updated.

Police Chief and Cop Resign After Daunte Wright Killing