Police Officer Who Shot and Killed Daunte Wright Was Training Others

BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. — Officer Kimberly A. Potter was within the midst of a routine coaching day on Sunday, demonstrating her many years of policing know-how to much less skilled officers within the Brooklyn Center Police Department.

But that coaching got here to an abrupt and horrifying finish when Officer Potter, who’s white, shot Daunte Wright, a Black 20-year-old man, in his automobile as he tried to keep away from arrest. Body digicam video reveals that the officer shouted “Taser!” whereas pointing a handgun at Mr. Wright, who was unarmed; she then fired a single spherical into his chest, killing him, in what the authorities in Minnesota have described as a lethal mistake.

Credit…Bruce Bisping/Star Tribune, by way of Getty Images

With protests unfolding every night time in Brooklyn Center, Officer Potter, a veteran officer of 26 years, and Tim Gannon, the division’s police chief, each resigned their posts on Tuesday. The abrupt departures got here a day after the town supervisor who oversaw the division was fired, and as the town of 30,000 residents remained boarded up; National Guard troops stood with weapons outdoors of the town’s police station, which has been the middle of nightly clashes.

Outside of Officer Potter’s residence in one other Minneapolis suburb on Tuesday morning, law enforcement officials appeared on as staff positioned concrete limitations and black steel fencing throughout the house, fortifying it in a trend much like the courthouse in downtown Minneapolis, the place Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis officer who had educated youthful officers, is on trial within the death of George Floyd.

Officer Potter, together with her many years on the pressure, was appearing as a coaching officer, assigned to information much less skilled colleagues on Sunday night time, a spokeswoman for the police union that represents her mentioned, when Mr. Wright was pulled over for an expired registration on his automobile.

The union that represents Officer Potter declined to touch upon the occasions that adopted, and her lawyer, Earl Gray, mentioned that she didn’t want to discuss. City officers didn’t reply to requests for her employment information.

In 1995, she was first licensed as a police officer in Minnesota and took a job with the Brooklyn Center police. Officer Potter, 48, was the president of the police union in recent times, in response to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office.

Officer Potter graduated from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, a small Catholic college, in 1994 with a legal justice main, a college official mentioned.

There is not any indication in accessible information that she had shot anybody earlier than. She was the police union president in August 2019, when she was one of many first officers to reach on the scene after two Brooklyn Center law enforcement officials shot and killed Kobe Dimock-Heisler, 21.

A report later concluded that Mr. Dimock-Heisler, who was described as mentally sick, had lunged at a police officer with a knife throughout a home disturbance name. Officer Potter suggested every of the officers to enter separate squad automobiles, flip off their physique cameras and not discuss to one another, in response to the report final 12 months by the Hennepin County legal professional. No expenses have been filed within the case.

Officer Potter’s husband, Jeffrey Potter, was additionally a police officer, serving within the Fridley Police Department in Minnesota for 28 years till his retirement in 2017. According to a community newsletter, Mr. Potter was an teacher within the division, coaching officers in use of pressure, Taser use and crowd management.

In a letter Officer Potter despatched to metropolis officers on Tuesday, she mentioned she had “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.”

At a information convention saying the departures, Mayor Mike Elliott acknowledged that of the practically 50 law enforcement officials within the division, he knew of none who truly lived within the metropolis they patrolled.

“We do feel very strongly that we need officers to be from the community,” Mr. Elliott mentioned. “People want justice. They want full accountability under the law. That’s what we will continue to work for,” he mentioned.

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, a state company in Minnesota, is conducting an investigation into Mr. Wright’s capturing, and the Washington County Attorney’s Office may deliver expenses in opposition to her.

Mr. Elliott additionally known as for Gov. Tim Walz to switch the case from the Washington County Attorney’s Office to the state legal professional basic, Keith Ellison, whose workplace is prosecuting Mr. Chauvin — a transfer that appeared unlikely.

On Tuesday afternoon, metropolis officers in Minneapolis and St. Paul invoked a curfew of 10 p.m., making ready for extra protests within the night.

Tony Gruenig, a commander within the Police Department who was appointed appearing chief of police on Tuesday, mentioned he had not but formulated a plan to answer the anger locally. “We’re just trying to wrap our heads around the situation and try to create some calm,” he mentioned.

For many in Brooklyn Center, although, the day’s resignations introduced little hope of actual change. Michelle Winters, a resident of close by Brooklyn Park, mentioned justice wouldn’t be served till law enforcement officials who killed folks have been charged as in the event that they have been civilians.

“They should charge them as they charge one of us,” mentioned Ms. Winters, who’s Black and was standing in entrance of the Brooklyn Center Police Department on Tuesday, the place protesters have been gearing up for an additional night time of demonstrations. No matter what the mayor does, she mentioned, residents won’t be glad until the police cease killing folks.

“As long as you keep doing this and doing this over again, it’s not going to get better,” she mentioned. “I don’t care if they call in the National Guard every month, that’s not going to help anything.”

Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs reported from Brooklyn Center, and Julie Bosman from Chicago. Stephanie Saul contributed reporting from Port Washington, N.Y. Kitty Bennett contributed analysis.

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