The police officer who shot dead a 20-year-old black man during a traffic stop in Minneapolis has been named as Kimberly Potter, a 25-year veteran of the force.
Potter, 48, can be heard saying ‘holy sh*t, I shot him’ after allegedly accidentally firing her gun instead of her taser during a struggle with Daunte Wright on Sunday.
Police had pulled Wright over for what they said were expired license plate tags; his family has denied that the tags were expired. When police ran his name, they realized he had an outstanding warrant, they said.
The warrant was for a misdemeanor charge of carrying a pistol without permit and misdemeanor fleeing police, NBC Minneapolis reported. His aunt has said the warrant was for ‘just some weed.’
When cops asked Wright to get out of the car, he did, but then got back into the car and tried to flee; that’s when Potter shot him. He was able to drive away for a time, until he crashed. Wright, who had a one-year-old son, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Wright’s aunt, Naisha Wright, called for Potter to be jailed for ‘not knowing the difference between a fully loaded pistol and a Taser.’
She told CNN: ‘Accident? An accident? No, come on now! I own a 20,000 volt Taser. They don’t feel nothing like a gun.’
She said, of Potter and her police colleagues: ‘My family’s blood is on their hands.’
Tim Gannon, Brooklyn Center Police Chief, on Monday described the fatal shooting of Wright as ‘an accidental discharge’.
Kimberly Potter, pictured in uniform in a photo from 2007, has been named as the police officer who shot and killed Wright
Protesters throw fireworks towards police as they gather outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department a day after Daunte Wright was shot and killed by a police officer, in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota on Monday
Protesters advance towards officers using umbrellas as shields outside Brooklyn Center Police Department
Protesters in Portland, Oregon, also took to the streets on Monday night in anger at Wright’s killing
Potter, right, is pictured with her colleagues on the Brooklyn Center Police Negotiation Team in 2007
Daunte Wright, 20, was shot dead on Sunday afternoon in Brooklyn Center after he was pulled over during a traffic stop for what his mother said was air fresheners dangling from his rear-view mirror. He is pictured here with his one-year-old son Daunte Wright Jr.
Protests erupted on Sunday night, and continued on Monday, with police firing volleys of tear gas to try to get demonstrators to disperse.
A curfew was in place, but the protesters were determined to ignore it. The police repeatedly tried to drive protesters away from the police headquarters, only for the crowd to scatter, then regroup.
At a press conference at 12:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Minnesota State Patrol Col. Matt Langer said that 40 people had been arrested on Monday night at the Brooklyn Center protest, with some people being booked into the Hennepin County jail, while some were cited and released. He added several officers suffered minor injuries from debris.
Potter has been placed on administrative duty pending an investigation.
The mayor of Brooklyn Center, Mike Elliott, has called for her to be fired. He clashed with City Manager Curt Boganey, who controlled the police department and who had said he wanted due process to play out before passing judgment. Boganey was fired by the town’s City Council in an emergency meeting on Monday.
Meanwhile, Brian Peters, head of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, said Potter was working Sunday as a field training officer, training a new officer.
‘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.
Potter instructed the two officers involved in the 2019 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, obtained by the paper.
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 paper 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, the paper reported.
She had annual salary of $86,190, according to public records from 2018.
Wright’s death sparked protests – less than 10 miles from where the trial of Derek Chauvin, the white Minneapolis police officer charged with murdering George Floyd, is taking place.
Mike Elliott, left, the new mayor of Brooklyn Center called the shooting ‘deeply tragic’ and said the officer should be fired. The mayor clashed with City Manager Curt Boganey, right, who controlled the Police Department and said the police officer should be afforded due process. The town’s City Council fired him in an emergency meeting on Monday.
Concrete barriers had been erected outside the Brooklyn Center Police headquarters and a number of high profile sports games were canceled following Wright’s death.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz had announced a curfew from 7 p.m. Monday until 6 a.m. Tuesday for the three counties that include Brooklyn Center, Minneapolis and the capital of St. Paul.
But hundreds of protesters defied that order and were seen gathered in the city Monday evening, separated from dozens of officers by a chain-link fence, well past the deadline.
A drum beat incessantly, and the crowd broke into frequent chants of ‘Daunte Wright!’ Some shouted obscenities at officers.
The crowds remained even after police ordered them to disperse. Officers fired what appeared to be small containers of gas. At least one protester could be heard dissipating the smoke with a leaf blower.
Hundreds of protesters defied a 7pm curfew in Minneapolis Monday night as the city braced for another night of protest
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz had announced a curfew from 7 p.m. Monday until 6 a.m. Tuesday for the three counties that include Brooklyn Center, Minneapolis and the capital of St. Paul. But hundreds of protesters defied that order and were seen gathered in the city Monday evening
Law enforcement agencies stepped up their presence across the Minneapolis area. The number of Minnesota National Guard troops was expected to more than double to over 1,000 by Monday night
A worker unloads concrete barricades outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department on Monday after an officer-involved killing of Daunte Wright, 20, following a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced a curfew from 7 p.m. Monday until 6 a.m. Tuesday for the three counties that include Brooklyn Center, Minneapolis and the capital of St. Paul
Heavily armed police officers in riot gear face protesters at the Brooklyn Center Police headquarters Monday
Protesters hold up ‘Justice for Daunte Wright’ signs outside Brooklyn Center Police Department, a day after Wright was shot and killed by a police officer
Wright was shot dead on Sunday afternoon after he and his girlfriend were pulled over during a traffic stop for what police say was an expired car registration. The officers then learned Wright, who has a one-year-old son, had an outstanding warrant against him.
Potter joined the police in 1995, aged 22
The Hennepin County medical examiner on Monday evening ruled his manner of death was homicide and said the cause of death was a gunshot wound to the chest. The examiner doesn’t determine intent or criminality.
Naisha Wright, Daunte’s aunt, said she was driving up to Minneapolis from Alabama today to meet he family in Minnesota. She was going to pick up her mother – Daunte’s grandmother – on the way.
When asked if she had a message for protesters, she said that she’s focused on her family right now, not anything else.
‘Everybody’s hurt. This is a young man that had life in front of him. He had a son,’ she said.
Wright’s brother is Daunte’s father. Wright said his parents had been together for more than 23 years.
‘This is not a broken home,’ she said.
Meanwhile, she called for Potter to be jailed.
‘You know the difference in a fully loaded pistol vs. a stun gun. And if you’re a police officer you should know better.’
‘If I made a mistake like that, I’d be in a jail cell. They’d be trying to put me under.’
‘I don’t have nothing bad to say about them [the police],’ but she said they needed to pay for what they’d done.
‘How would ya’ll feel if you got the call if that was your nephew or your son?’
‘People are trying to drag my nephew’s name through the dirt. It don’t mean nothing. He didn’t deserve to die.”
She said his license plate tag wasn’t expired, as police have said. A misdemeanor warrant that was out for her nephew was ‘just for some weed,’ she said.
During a tense press conference on Monday, Gannon, the police chief, released the bodycam footage of the incident that showed three officers approaching Wright’s car after he had been pulled over for the traffic stop.
The footage showed one officer trying to handcuff Wright as a second officer told him he was being arrested on a warrant. Wright immediately jumped back into his car in an apparent attempt to flee.
A struggle then broke out between the officers and Wright, who was still sitting inside his car.
Potter could be heard shouting ‘Taser!’ several times in the moments before she fired her gun.
Immediately after, Potter can be heard saying: ‘Holy sh*t. I shot him’. It appears she dropped her gun in the aftermath.
Gannon said he did not believe a gun was retrieved from Wright’s car.
Wright managed to drive several blocks before coming to a stop when he hit another car. He was pronounced dead at the scene and his girlfriend, who was a passenger in the car, sustained non-life-threatening injuries.
Police body cam footage of the fatal incident showed three officers approaching Daunte Wright’s car in Brooklyn Center on Sunday after he had been pulled over for the traffic stop
Potter could be heard shouting ‘Taser!’ several times in the moments before she fired her gun. Immediately after, she can be heard saying: ‘I shot him’. It appears she dropped her gun in the aftermath
After being shot, Wright managed to drive several blocks before coming to a stop when he hit another car. He was pronounced dead at the scene and his girlfriend, who was a passenger in the car, sustained non-life-threatening injuries
Biden says there’s ‘absolutely no justification for violence’ in wake of protests
President Joe Biden on Monday addressed the fatal police shooting of Daunte Wright and called for calm in the wake of violent protests.
Biden says he watched the ‘fairly graphic’ body camera footage from the officer who killed Wright.
‘The question is whether it was an accident or intentional? That remains to be determined,’ he said.
Biden said there is ‘absolutely no justification for violence’ regarding protests.
‘Peaceful protest is understandable. And the fact is that we do know that the anger, pain and trauma that exists in Black community in that environment is real, serious, and consequential. But that does not justify violence…
‘We should listen to Dante’s mom who is calling for peace and calm.’
When asked if he expects the country is on a ‘razor’s edge’ Biden says he is ‘not going to speculate now. I hopeful that there will be an outcome that will be supported by a vast majority of people in the region and that is my expectation.’
‘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 Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is the agency investigating Wright’s death.
Gannon described Potter as ‘a very senior officer’.
Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott said during the press conference that the officer 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, adding he fully supported relieving the officer of her duties.
Elliot noted that the incident coincided with the Chauvin trial, which had forced a reckoning over the death of Floyd.
‘I want to say that our hearts are aching right now,’ Elliott said. ‘We are in pain right now. And we recognize that this couldn’t have happened at a worse time.’
It is not yet clear if the officer will face charges.
The press conference, which was attended by journalists and community activists, became heated at times when some accused authorities of working hard to protect a ‘killer cop than a victim of police murder’.
Ben Crump, a civil rights attorney who helped win a $27 million legal settlement for the Floyd family, said he is also representing the Wrights.
Wright’s mother Katie claimed her son, pictured, had called her while being pulled over to get insurance information for the vehicle having recently been given the car as a gift. She suggested her son was pulled over for having an air freshener hanging from rear view mirror
Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon on Monday described the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright as ‘an accidental discharge’ after his death sparked violent protests less than 10 miles from where George Floyd was killed last year
People react after viewing the body camera footage of the killing of 20-year-old Daunte Wright after it was played during a press conference at the Brooklyn Center police headquarters
Activists gathered around to watch the bodycam video during Monday’s press conference regarding the shooting
‘Daunte Wright is yet another young Black man killed at the hands of those who have sworn to protect and serve all of us – not just the whitest among us,’ Crump said in a statement.
‘As Minneapolis and the rest of the country continue to deal with the tragic killing of George Floyd, now we must also mourn the loss of this young man and father.’
Police had revealed officers tried to arrest Wright after pulling him and his girlfriend over for a traffic violation at about 2pm on Sunday before realizing he had an outstanding warrant.
Authorities said the car was pulled over for having expired registration and they tried to arrest him after determining he had an outstanding warrant.
Court records show Wright was being sought after failing to appear in court on charges that he fled from officers and possessed a gun without a permit during an encounter with Minneapolis police in June.
In that case, a statement of probable cause said police got a call about a man waving a gun who was later identified as Wright.
Wright’s mother Katie Wright said her son called her in the moments before he was shot to say police had pulled him over for having air fresheners dangling from his rear-view mirror. It is illegal in Minnesota to have anything hanging from a rear-view mirror.
Police clear the streets near Brooklyn Center Police Department on Monday. Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon described the shooting death Sunday of 20-year-old Daunte Wright as ‘an accidental discharge.’ It happened as police were trying to arrest Wright on an outstanding warrant
Protesters are arrested as law enforcement clear the streets near Brooklyn Center Police Department as a curfew remains in effect. Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. April 13 2021. Protests continue in the wake of the fatal shooting of Duante Wright
Tension was high as Brooklyn Center Police attempted to fortify the police station at 6645 N. Humboldt Ave. Heavily armed police officers in riot gear faced off with protesters gathered outside of the police station
Riot police stand in the middle of a crowd of protesters demonstrating after the death of Wright, outside the police station at 6645 N. Humboldt Ave
Pictured: A man blows smoke in the face of an officer outside Brooklyn Center Police Station at 6645 N. Humboldt Ave
Police clear a strip mall of demonstrators after issuing orders to disperse during a protest against the police shooting of Daunte Wright, late Monday, April 12
Law enforcement clear the streets near Brooklyn Center Police Department as a curfew remains in effect, April 13
Black Lives Matter flag is seen after curfew. The crowds remained even after police ordered them to disperse. Officers fired what appeared to be small containers of gas. At least one protester could be heard dissipating the smoke with a leaf blower
Pictured: People run for cover as police fire tear gas outside the Brooklyn Center police station during a protest after a police officer shot and killed a black man. Pictured in Brooklyn Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota on April 12, 2021
Pictured: Demonstrators attempt to cover a tear gas canister fired by police amid a protest after a police officer shot and killed a black man. Pictured in Brooklyn Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota on April 12, 2021
Demonstrators face off with police officers outside of the Brooklyn Center police station on April 12
Protesters try to shield themselves from tear gas fired by police outside the Brooklyn Center police station Monday
Demonstrators burn a flag during a protest outside of the Brooklyn Center police station on April 12, 2021
Demonstrators face off with police outside of the Brooklyn Center police station on April 12, 2021
A man kneels down in front of police officers and vehicles with his hands in the air as demonstrators face off with police outside of the Brooklyn Center police station on April 12, 2021
Demonstrators hold their hands up in the air, while one wears a Black Lives Matter hoodie, as protesters face off with police outside of the Brooklyn Center police station on April 12, 2021
A motorist is ordered to move his vehicle as police expand their defensive perimeter after issuing orders to disperse during a protest against the police shooting of Daunte Wright, late Monday, April 12, 2021, in Brooklyn Center, Minn
Police clear a strip mall of demonstrators after issuing orders to disperse during a protest against the police shooting of Daunte Wright, late Monday, April 12, 2021
Minnesota State Troopers stand guard outside the Brooklyn Center Police Station after a police officer shot and killed 20-year-old Daunte Wright during a traffic stop in Minneapolis, Minnesota. April 12, 2021
Officers aim less than lethal weaponry at demonstrators outside Brooklyn Center Police Department a day after Wright was shot and killed by a police officer. Pictured outside the Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, April 12, 2021
People raise their fists, facing a line of State Troopers at the start of curfew to protest the death of Daunte Wright who was shot and killed by a police officer. Brooklyn Center, Minnesota on April 12, 2021
People gather holding signs before curfew to protest the death of Daunte Wright who was shot and killed by a police officer. Pictured outside the Brooklyn Center, Minnesota on April 12, 2021
Police officers stand guard as they face off with demonstrators outside of the Brooklyn Center police station on April 12, 2021
Demonstrators face off with police outside of the Brooklyn Center police station on April 12, 2021 in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota
A Dollar Tree store that was looted has its sprinklers turned on. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz had announced a curfew from 7 p.m. Monday until 6 a.m. Tuesday for the three counties that include Brooklyn Center, Minneapolis and the capital of St. Paul. But hundreds of protesters defied that order and were seen gathered in the city Monday evening
A demonstrator is arrested by police for violating curfew and an order to disperse during a protest against the police shooting of Daunte Wright, late Monday
State Troopers stand guard as protesters gather outside Brooklyn Center Police Department. The governor instituted another dusk-to-dawn curfew, but hundreds of people gathered outside the Brooklyn Center police station Monday night, separated from dozens of officers by a chain-link fence, well past the 7 p.m. deadline
Pictured: A display of candles and flowers spells the name of Daunte Wright at a protest over his death on April 12, 2021 in Seattle, Washington
MLB’s Twins, NBA’s Timberwolves, and NHL’s Wild all postpone games in Minnesota amid safety concerns after shooting
Major League Baseball’s Twins, the NBA’s Timberwolves, and the NHL’s Wild have postponed their games in Minnesota on Monday because of safety concerns following the fatal police shooting of a Daunte Wright, African-American man, in a Minneapolis suburb.
The death sparked violent protests, with officers in riot gear clashing with demonstrators into Monday morning.
The Red Sox and Twins were scheduled to begin a four-game series Monday afternoon at Target Field. The Twins said their decision was made in consultation with MLB and state and local officials. There was no word yet about rescheduling or the status of games set for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
The NHL’s Wild were supposed to host the St. Louis Blues in Saint Paul on Monday night, a game the team said was postponed ‘out of respect for the community.’ That game was rescheduled for May 12.
The Timberwolves, meanwhile, were supposed to host the Brooklyn (New York) Nets on Monday night. The Minnesota Wild are still slated to host
She said he called her to get insurance information for the vehicle because she recently gave the car to him.
Describing the call, Wright’s mother said: ‘I said when the police officer comes back to the window, put him on the phone and I will give him the insurance information.
‘Then I heard the police officer come to the window and say, ‘Put the phone down and get out of the car.’ And Wright said ‘why’. He said, ‘We’ll explain to you when you get out of the car.”
‘A minute later, I called and his girlfriend answered, who was the passenger in the car, and said that he’d been shot and she put it on the driver’s side, and he was laying there lifeless,’ Katie told gathered media on Sunday afternoon.
‘I heard scuffling, and I heard police officers say, “Daunte, don’t run,”‘ she said through tears. The call ended, and she dialed his number again. His girlfriend answered and said he was dead in the driver’s seat.
Speaking before the unrest broke out, Wright’s mother had urged protesters to stay peaceful and remain focused on the loss of her son.
‘All the violence, if it keeps going, it’s only going to be about the violence. We need it to be about why my son got shot for no reason,’ she said to a crowd near the shooting scene in Brooklyn Center.
‘We need to make sure it’s about him and not about smashing police cars, because that’s not going to bring my son back.’
As news of Wright’s death traveled, about 100 people, some visibly upset and one carrying a sign demanding ‘Justice for George Floyd,’ confronted police in riot gear.
Some started jumping atop police cars.
Marchers also descended on the Brooklyn Center Police Department where rocks and other objects were thrown at officers, according to authorities.
Violent protests eventually broke out with officers in riot gear clashing with demonstrators into the early hours.
National Guard troops were brought in just before midnight as looters broke into some 20 businesses and a citywide curfew was introduced until 6.30am local time.
National Guard troops and law enforcement officers continued to guard the front of the police department on Monday morning. Police were erecting a concrete barrier as Minnesota State Patrol officers joined the line in front of the precinct
Police Conservation Officers stand watch as barricades are installed outside the Brooklyn Center police headquarters on Monday
More National Guard members and state law enforcement personnel are to be deployed around the Twin Cities and in Brooklyn Center in addition to teams already in place
President Joe Biden was briefed on the shooting and the White House has been in touch with the governor, mayor and local law enforcement.
‘We should listen to Dante’s mom who is calling for peace and calm,’ he said.
Biden then stressed that there is ‘absolutely no justification for violence’ in protest or otherwise.
‘Peaceful protest is understandable. And the fact is that we do know that the anger, pain and trauma that exists in Black community in that environment is real, serious, and consequential. But that does not justify violence…’
National Guard troops and law enforcement officers continued to guard the front of the police department on Monday morning. Police were erecting a concrete barrier as Minnesota State Patrol officers joined the line in front of the precinct.
More National Guard members and state law enforcement personnel are to be deployed around the Twin Cities and in Brooklyn Center in addition to teams already in place for Chauvin’s trial at the Hennepin County courthouse in Minneapolis.
In scenes reminiscent of last summer’s nationwide Black Lives Matter protests, other cities around the U.S. also saw demonstrations in the wake of Wright’s death.
Pictures from Seattle, Washington showed a vigil being held for Wright, as well as smashed parking meters and a group of people the turnstiles at the Gallery Place metro station.
Down the West Coast, police in Portland said on Monday they were ‘defending themselves against a violent crowd at the Penumbra Kelly Building’, adding: ‘The group grew to approximately 200 people, most acting aggressively toward police’. There were reports of broken windows and people attempting to break into public city buildings.
In Los Angeles, a small group of people also gathered on Monday afternoon to protest after Wright’s death.
There, a man named Daymond Johnson lead chants at the intersection of Florence and Normandie. The intersection became famous as the flashpoint for the 1992 Los Angeles riots following the brutal police beating of African-American Rodney King by white officers
In Louisville, Kentucky – where Breonna Taylor was shot and killed by police in her home – protesters blocked traffic with tables and chairs.
On the east coast, rallies and protests were held in New York City on Monday, with a rally being held in the city’s Washington Square Park by dozens of people voicing their anger over the death of Wright. The protest remained peaceful as protesters marched across the Manhattan Bridge and the George Washington Bridge.
Meanwhile, in Washington DC, hundreds of protesters took to the streets of the nation’s capital.