After Daunte Wright shooting, city council to vote on police changes

Officials in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, the city where Daunte Wright was fatally shot during a traffic stop last month, are expected to vote on a resolution that will make significant policing changes.

The Brooklyn Center City Council will convene at 3 p.m. Saturday to address a proposal to create new divisions of unarmed civilian employees to handle non-moving traffic violations and respond to mental crises.

Wright, a black 20-year-old father, was shot in the chest on April 11 during a traffic stop. Former Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter, who is white, is charged with second-degree manslaughter in his death.

PHOTO: Daunte Wright is seen here in an undated file photo.

The proposal, called the Daunte Wright and Kobe Dimock-Heisler Community Safety & Violence Prevention Act, was created and presented last week by Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliot.

“Our community has made clear that enough is enough. It’s time for Brooklyn Center to move toward transforming our public safety,” Elliot tweeted Friday.

The proposal seeks to create a new Community Response Department where unarmed, trained medical and mental health professionals and social workers will respond to calls involving medical, mental health, disability-related and other behavioral needs.

It will create an unarmed Civilian Traffic Enforcement Department for non-moving traffic violations.

In the Wright case, he was pulled over for what police said was expired tags. It escalated when officers realized Wright had an outstanding arrest warrant, Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said at the time.

PHOTO: A person decorates a memorial for Daunte Wright with flowers and dandelions in Brooklyn Center, Minn., May 2, 2021.

The resolution also seeks to create a Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention to oversee the police department, fire department, traffic enforcement department and community response department.

It would also implement a “citation and summons” policy that would require officers only to issue citations and ban arrests and vehicle searches for non-moving traffic violations, non-felony offenses and non-felony warrants.

It’ll also create civilian committees to review and make recommendations regarding police response to protests and policies.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota called the proposed changes “an important first move” in changing policing, The Associated Press reported.

However, the resolution has been met with backlash by the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, Law Enforcement Labor Services, Inc., and the Minnesota Sheriff’s Association. The policing groups claimed the proposal conflicts with state law in a letter to city officials.

On Friday, the City Attorney reponded to those concerns in a memo to the City Council saying “the adoption of the Act establishes goals and commits the City to working to achieve them, but it does not constitute a final action.”

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