The Brooklyn Center, Minn., police officer involved in the shooting of Daunte Wright, has resigned along with the police chief. This comes two days after Wright’s shooting death during a traffic stop, CBS Minnesota reported.
Officer Kim Potter and chief Tim Gannon’s resignations were effective immediately on Tuesday (April 13), and Brooklyn Center mayor Mike Elliott announced that in the interim, the police chief would be replaced by Tony Gruenig, a 20-year veteran of the department.
“I am tendering my resignation from the Brooklyn Center Police Department effective immediately,” Potter said in the resignation letter. “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.”
During the incident, an officer tried to handcuff Wright, who had outstanding warrants, but when he attempted to get back into his car, Potter shouted “taser, taser,” but instead of using the device, she allegedly shot him. Wright drove for several blocks before hitting another vehicle. Officers attempted CPR, but he died at the scene. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner has ruled Wright’s death a homicide.
At a press conference on Monday, Gannon said that he believed Potter mistakenly drew her service weapon instead of her taser and fatally wounding Wright.
Wright’s father Aubrey Wright, in an appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning America” said that he does not believe that Potter made a mistake when she shot his son. “A mistake? That doesn’t even sound right. This officer has been on the force for 26 years. I can’t accept that,” he said.
Daunte Wright’s, aunt Naisha Wright, commented on Potter’s resignation when word came through at a press conference on Tuesday. “Great,” she said. “I hope that since she went ahead and she resigned…that they hold her at the highest [accountability] because she was the law, right? Protect and serve. Put her in jail like they would do any one of us.”
Despite the contention that Potter made a fatal mistake, Axon, the company that makes tasers, said in a statement to CBS Minnesota that their device is designed to help officers avoid such errors.
“Over the years Axon has implemented numerous features and training recommendations to reduce the possibility of these incidents occurring,” said the statement, while acknowledging the investigation into the shooting is still ongoing. “This includes building TASER energy weapons to look and feel different than a firearm: a TASER device has a different grip and feel and is lighter than a firearm; is offered in yellow to contrast a black firearm; a LED control panel lights up when the safety is taken off; and it is contained in a holster that is different and separate from the officer’s firearm.”
The developments come as the murder trial of Derek Chauvin continues over the May 2020 death of George Floyd. Chauvin, a former Minneapolis policeman, is charged with second and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.