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The veteran Brooklyn Center police officer who shot and killed 20-year-old Daunte Wright during a traffic stop was training a rookie on the day of the fatal shooting.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) has publicly identified the officer as Kim Potter. On Tuesday, Potter resigned from the Brooklyn Center Police Force. Police Chief Tim Gannon also announced his resignation, according to local ABC news affiliate KSTP.com.
Prior to her resignation, Potter had been placed on standard administrative leave after police said she killed Wright in an “accidental discharge.”
The 48-year-old was working Sunday as a field training officer when she pulled over Wright for having expired tags, according to The Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
Officers tried to arrest Wright after discovering he had an outstanding warrant, but authorities said Wright attempted to escape as officers tried to handcuff him, NPR reports.
Body camera footage released by police showed Potter yelling “Taser! Taser! Taser!” then firing a single gunshot.
“Holy s—t, I just shot him,” she said as Wright drove away. His car crashed into another vehicle several blocks away.
He died of a single gunshot wound to the chest.
“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. “This appears to me, from what I’ve viewed and the officer’s reaction and distress immediately after, that this was an accidental discharge that resulted in the tragic death of Mr. Wright.”
Gannon said he released a portion of the footage in an attempt to be transparent, CNN reports.
Potter had also served as the Brooklyn Center Police Union president, according to a 2020 report from the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office assisting police officers involved in shootings as part of that role.
“She’s just a very dedicated, passionate, good person. It’s completely devastating,” Brian Peters, head of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association told The Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “She [is] just a good person, always willing to help out.”
Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott said the shooting “deeply tragic”, according to local station KSTP.
“We cannot afford to make mistakes that lead to the loss of life of other people,” he said. “We’re going to do everything we can to ensure that justice is done and our communities are made whole.”
Elliott said his office has been given “command authority” over the police department in the wake of the shooting.
“Moments ago the council passed a motion 3-2 to give command authority over our Police Department to my office,” he wrote on Twitter. “At such a tough time, this will streamline things and establish a chain of command and leadership.”
Elliott said the city manager had also been relieved of his duties.
The shooting sparked protests and unrest in an area already on edge because of the trial of the first of four police officers charged in George Floyd’s death.
Hundreds of protesters faced off against police in Brooklyn Center after nightfall Monday, and hours after a dusk-to-dawn curfew was announced by the governor. When the protesters wouldn't disperse, police fired tear gas canisters and flash-bang grenades, sending clouds wafting over the crowd and chasing some protesters away. A long line of police in riot gear, rhythmically pushing their clubs in front of them, began slowly forcing back the remaining crowds.
“Move back!” the police chanted. “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” the crowd chanted back.
By late Monday, only a few dozen protesters remained. Minnesota State Patrol Col. Matt Langer said at a news conference early Tuesday that 40 people were arrested Monday night at the Brooklyn Center protest. In Minneapolis, 13 arrests were made, including for burglaries and curfew violations, police said.
--The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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