Brooklyn Center City Council approves sweeping police reforms in the wake of Daunte Wright’s death

The Brooklyn Center City Council voted 4-1 Saturday afternoon to dramatically reduce the power of its police department in a sweeping new measure.

Brooklyn Center, a suburb of Minneapolis, where Daunte Wright died after being shot by an officer who said she thought she was holding her Taser rather than her handgun.

“Our community has made it clear that it is time for real, transformative change that is going to keep everyone in our city safe. With this resolution, we are taking a critical first step towards that change,” Mayor Mike Elliott said in a written statement issued by the city.

“The Daunte Wright and Kobe Dimock-Heisler Community Safety and Violence Prevention Resolution” says the city will create an unarmed department to handle “all incidents where a city resident is primarily experiencing a medical, mental health, disability-related, or other behavioral or social need.”

All emergency calls in these incidents would be routed to the new community response department instead of the police department. Additionally, traffic enforcement will be handled by a separate force that is unarmed.

The measure says police officers will not be allowed to make arrests or conduct searches “for any non-moving traffic infraction, non-felony offense, or non-felony warrant,” with police only allowed to issue citations in those cases.

Katie Wright, Daunte Wright’s mother, said she is pleased with the major police reform measure. The Wright family was at the city council meeting when the measure passed.

“We as a family are all for it. I’m 100% backing the mayor and this move,” Wright told CNN. “My hope is other cities will follow suit so what happened to my son doesn’t happen to anyone else.”

Going forward, Brooklyn Center will establish a new Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention with an independent director. All emergency agencies, including the police and fire departments, will be under the authority of the new director. The new department will be monitored by a civilian oversight body.

“If Brooklyn Center can pass this sweeping and unprecedented resolution transforming community safety top-to-bottom, every city in America can and must do so as well,” said Taylor Pendergrass, deputy director for the ACLU’s Justice Division, in a statement.

Officer Kimberly Potter pulled Wright over for an expired tag on April 11, and then tried to arrest him on an outstanding warrant. Wright was shot as he resisted and got back into his vehicle, authorities said.

At the time, former Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said Potter intended to use her Taser, “but instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet.” The fatal shooting appeared to be “an accidental discharge,” he said.

Potter resigned after the shooting and was charged with second-degree manslaughter. She was released on bail and has another court hearing scheduled on Monday. She has not yet entered a plea.


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