The city council of Brooklyn Center in Minnesota on Monday passed a motion to give the office of Mayor Mike Elliott command of the police department in the wake of the fatal officer-involved shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright.
“Moments ago, the council passed a motion 3-2 to give command authority over our Police Department to my office,” Elliott wrote on Twitter. “At such a tough time, this will streamline things and establish a chain of command and leadership.”
The vote to fire city manager Curt Boganey took place during an emergency council meeting.
“Effective immediately, our city manager has been relieved of his duties, and the deputy city manager will be assuming his duties moving forward,” Elliott wrote. “I will continue to work my hardest to ensure good leadership at all levels of our city government.”
Boganey, who had been overseeing the city’s daily government operations, said during a press conference shortly before the meeting that it was too soon to discuss the termination of the officer who it was revealed accidentally shot Wright on April 11.
“Employees are entitled to due process with respect to discipline,” Boganey told reporters. “This employee will receive due process, and that’s really all I can say today.”
Police earlier released body camera footage of 20-year-old Wright being fatally shot by a Brooklyn Center officer at a traffic stop where police were attempting to arrest him for an outstanding warrant. The officer has been identified as Kim Potter.
Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said Monday that Potter meant to pull a Taser—not her handgun—on Wright as he was resisting arrest on Sunday.
“It appeared to me, from the video, that the individual was trying to get back into his car to leave,” Gannon said. “It is my belief that the officer had the intention to deploy their Taser, but instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet.”
Gannon said that based on his experience and training, it appeared as though it was an “accidental discharge that resulted in the tragic death of Mr. Wright.”
“Holy [expletive]. I just shot him,” a female officer is heard saying on body camera footage.
Elliot told reporters that he believes the officer who shot and killed Wright should be relieved of her duties. The officer has since been placed on administrative leave, Gannon said.
The shooting occurred after officers stopped Wright shortly before 2 p.m. for a violation in Brooklyn Center, which is about 10 miles northwest of Minneapolis.
Officers then determined that Wright had an outstanding warrant. According to the Brooklyn Center Police Department, Wright re-entered his vehicle when officers attempted to take him into custody.
One officer then discharged their firearm, hitting Wright. Wright and his girlfriend in the vehicle then traveled several blocks in their car before before crashing into another vehicle.
Medical personnel at the scene attempted to perform life saving measures but Wright was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.
The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has been asked to conduct an independent investigation of the shooting.
According to court records, Wright was charged in March with two misdemeanors for carrying a handgun in a public place without a permit and fleeing from a police officer “by a means other than a motor vehicle.” He was issued a warrant after failing to appear at a hearing on April 2.
Alongside peaceful protests over Wright’s death, some individuals have participated in rioting and looting, with the city experiencing “some of the worst damage to the city I’ve ever seen” in 27 years living there, Gannon told reporters.
“Peaceful, protesting, expressing yourself, we fully support that. But the ravaging our businesses, the looting of our stores, the destruction to our pharmacies, we cannot tolerate that,” Gannon said.
John Harrington, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, said at a news conference that rocks and other objects were thrown at the police department after nightfall on Sunday.
According to a Twitter post by a Minnesota-based community organizer, protesters were being directed to the Minnesota Freedom Fund for help with bail payments for any arrests during the protests, which devolved into riots Sunday night. Minnesota Freedom Fund describes itself as “fighting back against #Minnesota‘s unjust #bail system and paying #immigrant bonds.”
Vice President Kamala Harris in October last year vowed to take steps on criminal justice reform that would include establishing a national registry for police officers that break the law, and also ending the cash-bail system. She also posted on Twitter in June to help fundraise for the Minnesota Freedom Fund.
A curfew has been imposed in Ramsey, Hennepin, and Anoka counties—which includes the cities of Saint Paul, Minneapolis, and Brooklyn Center—effective April 12 at 7 p.m. and is due to end at 6 a.m on April 13.
It exempts people traveling to and from work, emergency services, law enforcement, people seeking medical care or fleeing danger, the homeless, and the media.
George Floyd family attorney Ben Crump, who has also represented the families of Breonna Taylor and Trayvon Martin, will be representing Wright’s family in legal proceedings.
This article has been updated to include remarks from city manager Curt Boganey.