Police Chief Tim Gannon and Officer Kim Potter both resigned from their positions in the Minnesota city of Brooklyn Center after two consecutive nights of rioting and looting in response to the deadly shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright, Mayor Mike Elliott announced at a news conference Tuesday.
Gannon made the decision Monday to release body-camera footage showing the fatal encounter. A female officer can be heard yelling, “Taser, Taser, Taser,” before a single shot goes off. The police chief said at a previous news conference Monday that he believed the officer intended to grab her Taser, but reached for her handgun instead, categorizing the incident as an “accidental discharge.”
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which advised Gannon not to release the footage so soon, identified Potter as the officer who was involved by Monday evening. The city of Brooklyn Center saw a second consecutive night from Monday into early Tuesday of rioting and looting that spilled over into Minneapolis as the trial for Derek Chauvin continues for a third week.
Minnesota State Patrol, Minneapolis Police and Hennepin County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested 34 people Monday night, Operation Safety Net announced Tuesday. Arrests were for unlawful assembly.
Wright was fatally shot during a traffic stop conducted Sunday afternoon just 10 miles from where George Floyd was seen in viral bystander video pinned to the pavement by Chauvin’s knee on May 25, 2020. Floyd later died in custody. Tensions remain high in the region, and Operation Safety Net, the public security plan set in place for the trial, was heightened to Level 3.
On Tuesday, Elliott also used his press conference to call on Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz to move the case from Washington County to the jurisdiction of state Attorney General Keith Ellison. Elliott said the case was referred in Hennepin County, but that prosecutor’s office declined to take the case. It remains unclear whether Potter will face criminal charges in Wright’s death.
By Tuesday afternoon, just over 2,000 Minnesota National Guardsmen are on duty to assist local authorities “in maintaining peace, with more service members coming on duty over the next few days.”
Elliott, whose mayoral office assumed “command authority” over the police department by Monday evening, appointed Tony Gruenig, who has been with the force for 19 years, as Acting Chief of Police, following Gannon’s resignation. Another commander was appointed to assist the acting chief with the ongoing unrest in the city.
“Yesterday, I was able to speak with Daunte Wright’s father and express our condolences on behalf of the city. I want to bring you all up to speed on a number of events that transpired yesterday, including events that transpired today,” Elliott said Tuesday. “That is our commitment is to continue to be open and transparent and continue to provide information on this evolving crisis.
“Yesterday, the City Council of Brooklyn Center met in session and took a series of actions to address the current crisis that included a vote in which the council voted to streamline the chain of command with the department,” the mayor continued. “I voted to, according to our city, in accordance with our city charter, have the command of the police department under the office of the mayor.”
Elliott said the council then took action to relieve the city manager of his duties, which included responsibility and command over the police department “until yesterday.” The city council passed a second resolution Monday “in support of relieving the police chief and the officer who was involved in the shooting,” Elliott said.
In an emergency meeting Monday, Brooklyn Center City Council voted 4-1 to fire city manager Curt Boganey over his response to protests following Wright’s death. Dr. Reggie Edwards was named the new acting city manager. Councilmember Dan Ryan was the only member who voted against the measure. After Elliott stepped out to deal with a “public safety matter,” the council voted 3-1 to pass a recommendation to fire the police chief. Councilmember Kris Lawrence-Anderson voted against that recommendation, CCX Media reported.
The press conference Tuesday included several individuals who began shouting off-camera at Elliott during the portion of time the mayor left to take questions from reporters.
“We want to send a message to the community that we’re taking this situation very seriously… although things haven’t unfolded in the way we thought ultimately they should unfold, we’re hoping that we’re turning over a new leaf now,” Elliott said, referencing the civil unrest that’s transpired. The mayor said he supported developing an approach that is “community based” and involves working with strong voices or influencers in the community in partnership with the new leadership now in place at the police department.
“But to do so in a way, you know that their anger is channeled to protesting,” Elliott continued. “And we want the community to know that this leadership for the department here, these are two individuals who are in the acting chief in particular. They both are committed, committed to engaging the community, engaging people who are out here protesting.”
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