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Suburb of Minneapolis where Daunte Wright shot to vote on changes in policing


Leaders in the Minneapolis suburb, where a police officer fatally shot and killed Daunte Wright during a traffic obstruction in April, are expected to vote Saturday on a resolution that would encourage the city to make major changes to its police practices.

The resolution, backed by Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott, would create new sections of unarmed civil servants to handle immovable traffic violations and respond to mental health emergencies. This would also limit situations in which officers can make arrests.

The Minnesota American Civil Liberties Union described the proposed changes as “an important first step” in changing policing. However, several police groups have raised concerns as parts of the solution conflict with state law and will endanger public safety.

The city’s lawyer said in a Friday memo to members of the city council that adoption of the resolution would not be a final measure, but would commit the city to change.

Katie and Aubrey Wright, parents of Daunte Wright, cry during Daunte Wright's memorial service at Shiloh Temple International Ministries in Minneapolis on Thursday, April 22, 2021. Wright, 20, was fatally shot by a Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.  Police officer during a traffic obstruction.  (AP Photo / Julio Cortez, pool)

Katie and Aubrey Wright, parents of Daunte Wright, cry during Daunte Wright’s memorial service at Shiloh Temple International Ministries in Minneapolis on Thursday, April 22, 2021. Wright, 20, was fatally shot by a Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. Police officer during a traffic obstruction. (AP Photo / Julio Cortez, pool)

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Elliott introduced the resolution last week, less than a month after then-Brooklyn Center Officer Kim Potter, who is white, fatally shot Wright, a 20-year-old black driver, and sparked protests in the city. The city police chief, who has since resigned, said at the time he believed Potter was going to use her taser in place of her pistol on Wright during the April 11 stop. She is charged with second degree manslaughter and has also resigned.

Some Minneapolis city council members failed to overtake that city’s police department after the death of George Floyd last year and are making further efforts this year. The move to Brooklyn Center, a suburb of just 30,000 residents, echoes some of the ideas of the Minneapolis plan.

On Twitter, Elliott called the plan “a sound approach to public safety” last week that police “wouldn’t make the only option when our community is in need”.

Wright’s death came after being pulled over by police for expired tags – the kind of traffic stop that many community members say is often wrongly aimed at people of color. It escalated when they discovered, according to police, that Wright was wanted on an arrest warrant.

The Brooklyn Center resolution would put immovable traffic violations – like Wright’s expired tags – in the hands of unarmed civilians.

It would also create a division of unarmed workers trained to respond to medical and mental health calls and address another common criticism that emergency calls can result in the death of someone in crisis if confronted by armed officers.

And a new community security and violence prevention department would be created to oversee community health and public safety efforts, led by a director with expertise in public health.

The resolution would also require more de-escalation efforts by the police before lethal force is used. Ban on deadly force in certain situations, e.g. B. when shooting at moving cars; and arrests or searches of people while immobile traffic violations, criminal offenses, or arrest warrants.

Rev. Al Sharpton commends Daunte Wright during the memorial service at Shiloh Temple International Ministries, Minneapolis, Thursday, April 22, 2021. Wright, 20, was fatally shot and killed by a Brooklyn Center, Minnesota police officer during a traffic obstruction.  (AP Photo / John Minchillo, Pool)

Rev. Al Sharpton commends Daunte Wright during the memorial service at Shiloh Temple International Ministries, Minneapolis, Thursday, April 22, 2021. Wright, 20, was fatally shot and killed by a Brooklyn Center, Minnesota police officer during a traffic obstruction. (AP Photo / John Minchillo, Pool)

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The Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, Law Enforcement Labor Services, Minnesota Sheriffs’ Association, and Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association wrote to the city council asking them to reject the resolution, parts of which contradicted several state laws. And they said it would be dangerous for civilians to take on certain police situations for both the public and the civil workers, and would likely lead to the escape of criminals.

The resolution is named after Wright and Kobe Dimock-Heisler, a 21-year-old man with autism and mental illness who was fatally shot by officials in June. Officers in this incident were not charged.

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