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Daunte Wright shooting: Officer and police chief have resigned, mayor says


However, Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott — who earlier told CBS he wanted to fire Officer Kim Potter — said Tuesday afternoon he has not yet accepted Potter’s resignation.

“We’re doing our internal process to make sure that we are being accountable to the steps that we need to take,” Elliott told reporters.

Potter, who state authorities say fatally shot Daunte Wright on Sunday during a traffic stop, and Police Chief Tim Gannon — who told reporters Monday that Potter appeared to mistake her gun for her Taser during the shooting — have turned in resignation letters, Elliott said.

Sunday’s killing of Wright, 20, is at least the third high-profile death of a Black man during a police encounter in the Minneapolis area in the last five years, after the shooting of Philando Castile in Falcon Heights in 2016 and the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last year.

Elliott on Tuesday introduced Cmdr. Tony Gruenig, a 19-year veteran of the department, as acting police chief. “There’s a lot of chaos going on right now,” Gruenig said. “We’re just trying to wrap our heads around the situation and try and create some calm.”

Wright’s death, and Monday’s release of video from Potter’s body camera, have triggered raw emotion and protests in Brooklyn Center, just 10 miles from where the trial of Derek Chauvin — the former Minneapolis police officer accused of killing Floyd last year — is taking place.

Wright’s father, Aubrey Wright, told ABC on Tuesday that he couldn’t accept Gannon’s explanation that Sunday’s shooting was accidental.

“I can’t accept that — a mistake. That doesn’t even sound right,” he told ABC’s “Good Morning America.” He cited the officer’s length of service — authorities said she’d been with Brooklyn Center police for 26 years.

Wright’s mother, Katie Wright, said she wanted to see the officer “held accountable for everything that she’s taken from us.”

“It should have never, ever escalated the way it did,” Katie Wright told ABC

Mayor Elliott told CBS on Tuesday morning that he believed Potter should be fired. Asked Tuesday afternoon why the city didn’t fire her, he said officials needed to go through certain processes, “but the officer resigned” first.

Elliott also told CBS he wants “everybody to stay home,” but “we also are going to protect people’s rights to gather peacefully.”

The traffic stop that ended in Wright’s death

Wright was with his girlfriend Sunday afternoon, driving to his older brother’s house, when police pulled him over in Brooklyn Center over an expired tag, police said. Officers learned he had an outstanding warrant and tried to handcuff him while he was standing outside his car, police said.

It was not immediately clear what the warrant was for.

Daunte Wright

Wright’s older brother, Damik Bryant, told CNN he texted Wright moments before the shooting, asking what was taking him so long. Wright sent another text saying he was pulled over and asked for insurance information, Bryant said. Bryant told him to call their mother.

Wright gave officers his name before calling his mother, Bryant said.

“They asked him to step out the car, and you know his first instinct was, ‘What did I do, what’s wrong?’ And they were like, ‘Well, put the phone down, get out the car now, we’ll talk to you about it when you get out,'” Bryant said.

“He said they pulled him over because he had air fresheners hanging from the rearview mirror,” Wright’s mother, Katie Wright, told CNN affiliate WCCO. “I heard the police officer come to the window and say, ‘Put the phone down and get out of the car,’ and Daunte said, ‘Why?’ And he said, ‘We’ll explain to you when you get out of the car,'” Katie Wright told CNN affiliate KARE.

“So, I heard the phone get either put on the dashboard or dropped, and I heard scuffling, and I heard the police officers say, ‘Daunte don’t run.’ And then the other officer said, ‘Put the phone down'” before it sounded like the phone was hung up, she said.

How easy (or hard) is it to confuse a gun for a Taser?

Body camera footage released Monday shows Wright standing outside his vehicle with his arms behind his back and an officer directly behind him, trying to handcuff him. An officer tells Wright “don’t,” before Wright twists away and gets back into the driver’s seat of the car.

Gannon, the police chief until Tuesday, said Monday it appeared from the video that Wright was trying to leave.

The officer whose camera footage was released is heard warning the man she’s going to use her Taser on him, before repeatedly shouting, “Taser! Taser! Taser!”

Then, the officer is heard screaming, “Holy sh*t! I just shot him.”

The car’s door closes, and Wright drives away. The car crashed several blocks away, police said. Police and medical personnel attempted life-saving measures following the crash, but Wright died at the scene, Gannon said.

Gannon said the portion of body-worn camera footage released Monday led him to believe the shooting was accidental and that the officer’s actions before the shooting were consistent with the department’s training on Tasers.

Aunt: ‘You don’t mistake a stun gun from a gun’

One of the family’s attorneys, Jeffrey Storms, told CNN on Tuesday that the chief’s explanation — that the shooting appeared to be an accident — “is by no means proper or enough.”

“There were a number of intentional events that led to (Daunte Wright) being dead, and we need to find out exactly why each one of those intentional events happened,” Storms said.

“Grabbing your sidearm that you’ve likely deployed thousands, if not tens of thousands, of times is an intentional act,” Storms said. “A sidearm feels different than a Taser. It looks different than a Taser. (It) requires different pressure in order to deploy it.”

Daunte Wright’s aunt, Naisha Wright, gave a similar argument to CNN’s Don Lemon on Monday night.

“You don’t mistake a stun gun from a gun. … If I made a mistake like that, I’ll be in a jail cell; they’ll be trying to put me under. That’s not fair,” Naisha Wright said.

About 40 arrested during second night of protests

Demonstrators Monday night gathered near the Brooklyn Center Police Department for the second night in a row, with shouts of “no justice, no peace” accompanying the din of conflict.

The first Black mayor in Brooklyn Center says Daunte Wright's shooting is 'unfathomable'
Police fired tear gas and stun guns to disperse demonstrators, who authorities said were defying a curfew. And protesters threw “bottles, fireworks, bricks and other projectiles at public safety officials,” according to a tweet from Operation Safety Net, a joint effort of local agencies meant to ensure public safety during the Chauvin trial.

Authorities said they responded to multiple reports of break-ins and looting. About 40 arrests were made, Minnesota State Patrol Col. Matt Langer said early Tuesday.

The Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association released a statement from its executive director saying the “tragic chain of events that resulted in the loss of life is weighing on all of us,” and “no conclusions should be made until the investigation is complete.”

CNN’s Carma Hassan, Keith Allen, Hollie SIlverman, Peter Nickeas, Holly Yan, Jessica Schneider, Jessica Jordan, Christina Carrega, David Close, Shawn Nottingham and Brad Parks contributed to this report.

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