A white police officer who fatally shot a Black man during a traffic stop in a Minneapolis suburb resigned Tuesday, as did the city’s police chief — moves that the mayor said he hoped would help heal the community and lead to reconciliation after two nights of protests and unrest.
The resignations from Officer Kim Potter and Police Chief Tim Gannon came 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.
Elliott said he was not sure if Potter resigned 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.”
“We have to make sure that justice is served, justice is done. Daunte Wright deserves that, his family deserves that,” Elliott said.
In a letter that Ms. Potter sent to city officials on Tuesday, she said she was resigning immediately, the union said.
Ms. Potter, 48, had been an officer with the Brooklyn Center Police Department for 26 years. She was first licensed as a police officer in Minnesota in 1995, and graduated from Saint Mary’s College in Winona, Minn., in 1994 with a criminal justice major, school officials said.
Until her resignation, she had been placed on administrative leave within the department after shooting and killing Mr. Wright, 20. In a news conference on Monday, Chief Gannon said he believed from watching Ms. Potter’s body camera video that she was attempting to use a Taser on Mr. Wright and pulled her firearm instead, killing him.
The police officer accused of shooting and killing a Black man in a Minneapolis suburb during a traffic stop over the weekend — a shooting her chief says was accidental — has resigned, the suburb’s mayor told CNN on Tuesday.
The resignation of Brooklyn Center police Officer Kim Potter comes after a second night of protests roiled the city, with hundreds of demonstrators expressing anger at Daunte Wright’s death, some of whom clashed with police late Monday.
Earlier on Tuesday, Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott told “CBS This Morning” that the city was assessing its options about Potter’s job, but he added, “I do believe that the officer should be fired.”
In a letter to Elliott, acting City Manager Reggie Edwards, and Police Chief Tim Gannon, Potter wrote that she had “loved every minute of being a police officer and serving this community to the best of my ability.” Gannon has also resigned, Eliott said at a Tuesday news conference.
Her resignation came as Vice President Kamala Harris said Wright “should be alive today” as demands grew for police reform on the heels of the latest controversial killing of a Black man by Minnesota police.
Harris also said that there should be “justice and healing” for Wright’s death, and that, “Law enforcement must be held to the highest standards of accountability.”
Former President Barack Obama said that his and Michelle Obama’s “hearts are heavy” over Wright’s shooting death.
Obama also argued that the latest death of a Black man at the hands of police underscores the need to “reimagine policing” in the United States.
The mayor (Mike Elliot) also called on Gov. Tim Walz to transfer criminal prosecution to the state attorney general’s office, rather than have the case handled by a county prosecutor. The governor took that step last May when he appointed Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison as lead prosecutor on the Derek Chauvin case.
“This case requires that the attorney general steps in and prosecutes this case,” Elliott said, alluding to “sensitivities revolving around this case.”
The moves come after the Brooklyn Center City Council passed a resolution Monday evening in support of relieving Potter and Gannon of their duties. It also passed motions to give the mayor “command authority” over the city’s police department and to fire the city manager, who previously had responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the police department.