Minnesota police chief and officer who fatally shot Daunte Wright resign

Resignations come after two days of protests in Brooklyn Centre, a suburb of Minneapolis

Katie Wright, left, the mother of Daunte Wright, and other family and friends gather during a news conference Tuesday, April 13, 2021, in Minneapolis as family attorney Ben Crump speaks. Daunte Wright, 20, was shot and killed by police Sunday after a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minn. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
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The Minnesota, police chief and the officer who fatally shot Daunte Wright, 20, a black man who struggled with police after a traffic stop, have both resigned, the city's mayor said on Tuesday.

Brooklyn Centre Mayor Mike Elliott said the resignations came after the city council passed a resolution to dismiss the chief, Tim Gannon, and the officer who shot Wright, Kim Potter, a 26-year veteran of the police force.

"I'm hoping this will bring some calm to the community," the mayor said. "We want to send a message to the community that we are taking this situation seriously."

Wright was shot on Sunday after being pulled over for what police said was an expired car registration.

Officers then discovered there was a warrant out for his arrest, and an officer accidentally drew her pistol instead of her Taser during a struggle with Wright, Mr Gannon said on Monday.

Wright died of a gunshot wound to the chest, according to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office.

Former US president Barack Obama on Tuesday called for a "full and transparent investigation" into the shooting.

Wright's death ignited two consecutive nights of unrest in Brooklyn Centre. Hundreds of protesters clashed with law enforcement officers outside the city’s police headquarters on Monday in defiance of a curfew ordered by Governor Tim Walz.

The region had been on edge for weeks with the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with murdering George Floyd, taking place just a few kilometres from where the shooting of Wright occurred.

Wright's relatives described him as a kind man who liked basketball and worked several jobs to support his son.

"My brother lost his life because they were trigger-happy,” his older half-sibling, Dallas Wright, said during a memorial vigil on Monday evening at the spot where he was killed.

“My heart is broken in a thousand pieces ... I miss him so much, and it's only been a day,” his mother, Katie Wright, said at the vigil. “He was my life, he was my son and I can never get that back. Because of a mistake? Because of an accident?”

Ms Potter sent a one-paragraph letter of resignation.

“I have loved every minute of being a police officer and serving this community to the best of my ability, but I believe it is in the best interest of the community, the department and my fellow officers if I resign immediately,” Ms Potter wrote.

Ms Potter has experience with investigations into police shootings.

"My heart is broken in a thousand pieces... I miss him so much, and it's only been a day. He was my life, he was my son and I can never get that back. Because of a mistake? Because of an accident?"
Daunte Wright's mother, Katie

She was one of the first officers to respond after Brooklyn Centre police fatally shot a man who allegedly tried to stab an officer with a knife in August 2019, according to a report from the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office.

After medics arrived, Ms Potter told the two officers who shot the man to get into separate squad cars, turn off their body cameras and not to speak to each other.

She was also the police union president for the department and accompanied two other officers involved in the shooting while investigators interviewed them.

Brooklyn Centre is a modest suburb just north of Minneapolis where the demographics shifted dramatically in recent years. In 2000, more than 70 per cent of the city was white. Today, a majority of residents are black, Asian or Latino.

Wright’s death prompted protests in other US cities, including in Portland, Oregon, where police said a demonstration turned into a riot on Monday night, with some in the crowd throwing rocks and other projectiles at officers.