Topline

Kimberly Potter—the police officer who fatally shot an unarmed Black man during a traffic stop in  Brooklyn Center, Minnesota—resigned on Tuesday night along with the city’s police chief Tim Gannon as protests and unrest over the death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright continued in the Minneapolis suburb for the third night in a row.

Key Facts

The resignations were announced by Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott who said he hoped the moves would  “bring some calm to the community.”

Elliot said the city had been moving toward firing Potter before she submitted her resignation on Tuesday afternoon.

Activists who attended the mayor’s news conference demanded sweeping changes to the city’s police department and then criticized the acting police chief, Tony Gruenig, for not yet having a plan.

Demonstrations against Wright’s killing continued for a third night on Tuesday even as Brooklyn Center declared protests to be an unlawful assembly.

According to CNN, the protests were peaceful till late Tuesday afternoon but things devolved into chaos in the evening as police used pepper spray and fired flash bombs at protesters while water bottles and other projectiles were thrown at officers in riot gear.

The cities of Brooklyn Center, Minneapolis and St. Paul have all imposed 10 p.m. curfews.

What To Watch For

Prosecutors are yet to decide if they will charge Potter for Wright’s death, but that decision is expected to come as soon as Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.

Key Background

Wright was killed on Sunday after being shot during a traffic stop. The city’s former police chief Tim Gannon 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!” However, Wright’s death and the release of the bodycam footage have triggered massive protests in the city. Protests over Wright’s death come amid ongoing tensions over the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who is charged with murder in the death of George Floyd. Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, died in Minneapolis—just 10 miles from where Wright died— in May last year after Chauvin kneeled on his neck during his arrest. Videos of Floyd’s death—which were widely shared and broadcast—sparked global protests against police brutality and systemic racism. Wright’s family members and protestors have also pointed out that the 20-year-old’s death shows how the justice system is tilted against Black Americans.

Tangent

Brooklyn Center’s City Council passed a resolution on Monday that bans the police from using tear gas and other chemical irritants against protestors or the use of rubber bullets to disperse crowds. Police officers will also not be able to cover their badge numbers or prohibit the public from videotaping them while on duty. The city has also banned the use of chokeholds during arrests.

Further Reading

Cop, police chief resign 2 days after Black motorist’s death (Associated Press)

Brooklyn Center police chief, officer who shot Daunte Wright resign (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Police Officer Who Shot and Killed Daunte Wright Was Training Others (New York Times)

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