In the aftermath of the fatal shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright in a suburb of Minneapolis on Sunday, mourners have continued to demand justice, and the city’s leadership has scrambled to reorganize and respond to growing outrage over the handling of protests.
Some of the calls for justice have already led to action. The police officer who shot and killed Wright during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, resigned Tuesday following two days of unrest. The city’s police chief resigned later in the day.
Kim Potter, a 26-year veteran of the police force, was placed on administrative leave after the incident. In a body camera video played at a news conference on Monday, Potter is heard shouting that she would use her Taser on Wright before firing her gun instead, in what the police chief attributed to a moment of confusion.
Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott said in a Tuesday press conference that Potter had resigned without being asked and that he had not yet accepted her resignation. Washington County Attorney Pete Orput also said that his office planned to announce a decision about criminal charges by Wednesday, but Elliott said that he had asked for the governor to have the Attorney General’s office take over the case, according to the Star Tribune.
The city’s police chief, Tim Gannon, tendered his resignation before he could be fired. On Monday afternoon, the city council held an emergency meeting and voted to grant the mayor “command authority” over the police department. The mayor would then have been able to fire Gannon, according to the Washington Post.
The city council also voted to fire the city manager at the Monday meeting. According to the Post, the city manager had told reporters that Potter was “entitled to due process with respect to discipline.” Elliott, a Black man, had said that Potter should be fired. He also later clarified that the city manager had been fired over the city’s response to the protests.
Protests had started on Sunday soon after the shooting. By the evening, mourners had gathered peacefully near the site of the killing. Hundreds joined Wright’s family in a vigil to express their grief. In the evening, protesters marched to the police headquarters, where they were met by police in riot gear. Officers dispersed the chanting crowd with tear gas, rubber bullets, and flash bang grenades, infuriating the crowd.
Afterward, some people turned to rioting and looting, and damage to buildings was reported around the city. The state’s governor activated the National Guard, which had deployed 500 people by Monday morning, according to the Star Tribune. On Monday afternoon, as protesters gathered again, President Joe Biden called for “peace and calm.”
Wright’s killing occurred just 10 miles from downtown Minneapolis, where Derek Chauvin, the police officer who knelt on George Floyd’s neck for nine minutes before he died, is on trial for the killing that sparked a summer of mass protests. Many predicted that the trial, which is nearing closing arguments and which has for days dredged up feelings of grief and anger, would lead to more unrest around the Twin Cities. The state plans to increase the number of National Guard personnel deployed on the ground in preparation for the trial’s end.
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