Officer Kim Potter & Police Chief Tim Gannon with Brooklyn Center Police Dept resign as the 26 year female veteran cop to face charges. History of obscuring accountability.
The veteran female police officer who fatally shot a 20-year-old black man during a traffic stop in Minneapolis after allegedly confusing her gun for a taser over the weekend, faces charges as early as tomorrow after she and her police chief boss both resigned from the force on Tuesday.
It remained unclear what charges Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kimberly Potter, 48, faced over the shooting death of Daunte Wright, with multiple sources telling KSTP that charges could be filed on Wednesday.
Both Officer Kim Potter and Police Chief Tim Gannon resigned on Tuesday two days after Wright was shot dead after he was pulled over for what police said were expired license plate tags.
In her resignation letter, Potter – who has worked for the department for 26 years – did not address the deadly shooting that has sparked two days of violent protests and unrest across the city along with at least 40 arrests.
‘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 said.
The police shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright in a Minneapolis suburb appeared to be an ‘accidental discharge’ by an officer who drew her gun instead of her Taser during a struggle following a traffic stop, the city’s police chief said https://t.co/9ze1Kn6grL pic.twitter.com/A3J4VLLyVY
— Reuters (@Reuters) April 12, 2021
Accidental discharge from 26 year veteran cop?
Potter, a married mother-of-two, has been on administrative leave since the shooting.
Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliot announced the resignation of Potter’s police chief boss.
Gannon was the one who revealed during a press conference a day earlier that Wright’s death was the result of ‘accidental discharge’ after Potter mistook her taser for a gun.
‘This was an accidental discharge that resulted in a tragic death of Mr Wright,’ Gannon said.
‘As I watch the video and listen to the officer’s commands, it is my belief that the officer had the intention to deploy their taser, but instead shot Mr Wright with a single bullet.’
‘For informational purposes we train with our handguns on our dominant side, and our taser on our weak side. If you’re right-handed you carry your firearm on your right side and your carry your taser on the left. This is done purposefully, and it’s trained.’
The resignations came as pressure mounted for Potter to be fired, including from Mayor Elliot, WFMJ reported.
Ofc. Kim Potter killed Daunte Wright — but did she know the difference between a handgun and a taser? The facts:
‼️ 26 years as a police officer — She was 6 YEARS into her career when Daunte was BORN!
‼️ Serves as police union president
‼️ Defended questionable actions before… pic.twitter.com/M9eMU7Tyjw
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) April 13, 2021
Elliott said on Tuesday he was ‘appreciative’ that Potter submitted her resignation but that he had not asked for it. He said he wasn’t sure if it was because she had heard that she would soon be fired.
It is not clear if Potter will be entitled to keep her pension.
Activists who attended the news conference called for sweeping changes to the Brooklyn Center Police Department and criticized acting police chief, Tony Gruenig, for not yet having a plan.
Elliott said there were 49 police officers in the department but none of them lived in Brooklyn Center. He didn’t immediately have information regarding racial diversity of those officers but said ‘we have very few people of color in our department.’
He went on to say he hoped Potter’s resignation would ‘bring some calm to the community’ but that he would keep working towards ‘full accountability under the law.’
Wright was shot as police were trying to arrest him on an outstanding warrant. Police said a struggle broke out as they tried to take him into custody after running his name and realizing he had the warrant.
The parents of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man who was shot and killed by a white police officer in a Minneapolis suburb on Sunday, said they “can’t accept” the notion that their son’s killing was “a mistake.” https://t.co/gwMJmhAfUm pic.twitter.com/CWHQfUWDIH
— Good Morning America (@GMA) April 13, 2021
‘I lost my son, he’s never coming back’
Authorities have not confirmed the nature of the warrant but court records show Wright was being sought after failing to appear in court last month on misdemeanor charges that he fled from officers and possessed a gun without a permit during an encounter with Minneapolis police last June.
His aunt has said the warrant was for marijuana possession.
In an interview with Good Morning America on Tuesday, Wright’s parents Katie and Aubrey said they could not accept their son’s death was a mistake.
‘I cannot accept that. I lost my son, he’s never coming back. I can’t accept a mistake, that doesn’t even sound right,’ Aubrey said.
‘This officer has been on the force for 26 years.’
Wright’s mother added that she wants Potter to be held accountable for ‘everything she’s taken from us’.
‘Great … put her in jail like they would do any one of us’ — Naisha Wright, in response to hearing that the officer who killed her nephew Daunte Wright has resigned pic.twitter.com/95oPUPMq8Y
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) April 13, 2021
‘This was murder not an accident’
During a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, Wright’s aunt, Naisha Wright, called his death ‘murder’ and dismissed claims it was an accident.
‘They murdered my nephew. She killed my nephew,’ Naisha said at the press conference, which was held alongside members of George Floyd‘s family.
‘Every pistol, every Taser, it has a safety on it. She saw that she had to release that. That woman held that gun in front of her for a long damn time.’
“There is no peace in this. Say his name. Keep saying his name. My nephew did not deserve this.”
Naisha Wright, the Aunt of Daunte Wright, speaks out after her nephew was shot by a police officer and died following a traffic stop. pic.twitter.com/irGyDijrSd
— CNN Tonight (@CNNTonight) April 13, 2021
Shooting death ruled a homicide
Wright’s shooting death has sparked violent protests and unrest in the city that is already on edge because of the trial of Derek Chauvin, the first of four police officers charged in George Floyd’s death.
Protests also broke out overnight in New York, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Portland and Seattle.
The unrest continued for a second night just hours after the Hennepin County medical examiner ruled Wright’s death as a homicide and said the cause was a gunshot wound to the chest.
Despite Officer Kim Potter being placed on admin leave, a standard process as an investigation took place, Brooklyn City Mayor Mike Elliott has maintained that Potter should be fired.
‘My position is that we cannot afford to make mistakes that lead to the loss of life of other people in our profession,’ Elliott said during a Tuesday press conference.
His comments were in contrast to City Manager Curt Boganey, who was in charge of the police department, after he said he wanted due process to play out before passing judgment on the officer’s actions.
Boganey was fired by the town’s City Council in an emergency meeting on Monday.
Elliott now oversees the police department.
Brian Peters, head of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, said Potter was working Sunday as a field training officer, training a rookie officer.
Brooklyn Center police escalated this situation and killed this 21 yo young person, Kobe Dimock-Heisler, in his home in 2019. His parents have been calling for justice for two years and have not gotten it. Less than a mile from Daunte Wright’s murder.https://t.co/JEOp35GBgE
— rana may (@rana_may) April 13, 2021
@AttorneyCrump wrote about the previous incident involving Dimock-Heisler and Potter, saying she ‘taught officers who fatally shot Kobe Dimock-Heisler how to protect themselves & obscure accountability’.
— Pfizer Papi, M.P.A. (@xDeNiro) April 13, 2021
History of obscuring police accountability
‘She’s just a very dedicated, passionate, good person. It’s completely devastating,’ he said. ‘In a very tense moment, she made a mistake. It’s not her character.’
Potter is a married mother of two, who was first licensed as a police officer in Minnesota in 1995 at age 22, according to state records obtained by the Star Tribune.
She has served on the city’s negotiation team, and was among the first to arrive at the scene of another officer-involved shooting, in August 2019. In that case, Kobe Dimock-Heisler died after he allegedly rushed at officers with a knife in a home. Prosecutors declined to pursue charges against Brooklyn Center officers in the fatal shooting of a young man with autism, saying their actions were justified as there were concerns for the well being of the suspect’s grandmother and officers.
Potter instructed the two officers involved in the incident ‘to exit the residence, get into separate squad cars, turn off their body worn cameras, and to not talk to each other,’ according to an investigative report from the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, the Star Tribune reported. Both officers’ actions were found to be justified and no charges were filed.
Potter has been a union president for her department’s officers, the Star Tribune reported, and was a longtime member of the Law Enforcement Memorial Association.
Potter has two adult sons and lives with her husband, a former Fridley police officer, in a different Minneapolis suburb.
She had annual salary of $86,190, according to public records from 2018.
Ben Crump, a civil rights attorney who helped win a $27 million legal settlement for the Floyd family, is also representing the Wrights.
In a tweet, Crump said he believed that Potter ‘knew exactly what she was doing’ in a previous case which he said she told officers how to ‘obscure accountability’.
He wrote about the previous incident involving Dimock-Heisler and Potter, saying she ‘taught officers who fatally shot Kobe Dimock-Heisler how to protect themselves & obscure accountability’.