The white former police officer who fatally shot a Black man during a traffic stop in a Minneapolis suburb will be charged with second-degree manslaughter, according to the Washington County Attorney’s Office.
The charges against Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter comes a day after she and Police Chief Tim Gannon resigned and two days after Potter shot 20-year-old Daunte Wright. Gannon has said he believed Potter mistakenly grabbed her pistol when she was trying to pull out her Taser.
Wright’s death sparked nights of protests and raised tensions amid the nearby murder trial of the ex-officer charged with killing George Floyd.
Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott said at a news conference that the city had been moving toward firing Potter, a 26-year veteran 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.”
Washington County Attorney Pete Orput said Tuesday he had received information on the case from state investigators and hoped to have a charging decision on Wednesday. While the shooting happened in Hennepin County, prosecutors referred the case to nearby Washington County — a practice county attorneys in the Minneapolis area adopted last year in handling police deadly force cases.
“We have to make sure that justice is served, justice is done. Daunte Wright deserves that. His family deserves that,” Elliott said.
But police and protesters faced off once again after nightfall Tuesday, with hundreds of protesters gathering again at Brooklyn Center’s heavily guarded police headquarters, now ringed by concrete barriers and a tall metal fence, and where police in riot gear and National Guard soldiers stood watch.
About 90 minutes before a 10 p.m. curfew, state police announced over a loudspeaker that the gathering had been declared unlawful and ordered the crowds to disperse. That quickly set off confrontations, with protesters launching fireworks toward the station and throwing objects at police, who launched flashbangs and gas grenades and then marched in a line to force back the crowd.
“You are hereby ordered to disperse,” authorities announced, warning that anyone not leaving would be arrested. The state police said the dispersal order came before the curfew because protesters were trying to take down the fencing and throwing rocks at police. The number of protesters dropped rapidly over the next hour, until only a few remained. Police also ordered all media to leave the scene.
Some 60 people were arrested, police said early Wednesday morning.