NEW YORK — A white police officer who fatally shot a Black man during a traffic stop in a Minneapolis suburb resigned Tuesday, as did the city’s police chief — moves that the mayor said he hoped would help heal the community and lead to reconciliation after two nights of protests and unrest.
The resignations from Officer Kim Potter and Police Chief Tim Gannon came two days after the death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center. Potter, a 26-year veteran, had been on administrative leave following Sunday’s shooting, which happened as the Minneapolis area was already on edge over the trial of an officer charged in George Floyd’s death.
Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott said at a news conference that the city had been moving toward firing Potter when she resigned. Elliott said he hoped her resignation would “bring some calm to the community,” but that he would keep working toward “full accountability under the law.”
“We have to make sure that justice is served, justice is done. Daunte Wright deserves that. His family deserves that,” Elliott said.
A decision on whether prosecutors will charge Potter could come as soon as Wednesday. Meanwhile, the cities of Brooklyn Center, Minneapolis and St. Paul imposed 10 p.m. curfews.
Meanwhile, experts are weighing in on Potter’s explanation for why she shot Wright. Potter had said that she reached for her taser. The police chief called the shooting death “accidental.”
PIX11 News spoke to two experienced former officers, both of whom are scratching their heads.
Retired NYPD Deputy Inspector Corey Pegues watched the body camera video to figure out how this could have happened.
“Her gun was already out and then she screamed out ‘taser, taser, taser,’ which they’re trained to do but she forgot that she had her gun in her hand,” Pegues said.
Pegues believes a mistake like this is very unlikely, especially with police safe guards on weapons.
“You know that the taser’s clearly another color and that’s on purpose so they don’t get confused. And it’s on the non-shooting side and they train you to go across your body, so you know that when you reach across your body you’re going for the taser.”
Retired NYPD Detective Ron McNeil has himself had to discharge his weapon and take a life back in 1995, something that he says he still lives with to this day.
McNeil, like Pegues, questions the training of the officer involved and why a taser or a gun was needed in the first place.
“What takedown procedures do they have in the close proximity of a potential perpetrator to get them down before they pull out a taser, a gun, a nightstick, mace. They were in less than a foot of each other,” McNeil said.
Pegues notes that Potter’s 26 years on the force dispels the notion that it could’ve been training deficiencies.
“So what is the other factor? I will say it on record, it has to be race,” said Pegues.
Potter is still the subject of an investigation and possible charges.