City where Daunte Wright shot to vote on police changes

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Executives in suburban Minneapolis where policeman shot and killed Daunte Wright During a traffic stop in April, it is expected to vote on Saturday on a resolution that would put the city on track for major changes in its policing practices.

The resolution, supported by Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott, would create new divisions of unarmed civilian workers to handle traffic violations and respond to mental health crises. It would also limit the situations in which officers can make arrests.

The United States Civil Liberties Union in Minnesota called the proposed changes “an important first step” in changing policing. But several police groups have expressed concern, saying parts of the resolution conflict with state law and will put public safety at risk.

The city attorney said in a Friday memo to city council members that passing the resolution would not be a final action, but would commit the city to change.

Elliott introduced the resolution last week, less than a month after then-Brooklyn Central Officer Kim Potter, who is white, shot and killed Wright, a 20-year-old black motorist, triggering events in the city. The town’s police chief, who has since resigned, said at the time he believed Potter intended to use his Taser on Wright during the April 11 shutdown instead of his handgun. She is charged with second degree manslaughter and also resigned.

Some Minneapolis City Council members failed to overhaul the Minneapolis Police Department in the wake of George Floyd’s death last year, and are mounting another effort this year. The move to Brooklyn Center, an inner suburb of just 30,000 people, echoes some of the ideas of the Minneapolis plan.

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

Wright’s death came after he was arrested for what police called expired tags – the kind of traffic stop that many in the community say often unfairly targets people of color. This escalated when, according to police, they realized Wright was wanted on a felony warrant.

The Brooklyn Center resolution would put enforcement of non-mobile traffic violations – such as Wright’s expired labels – in the hands of unarmed civilians.

It would also create a department of unarmed workers trained to respond to medical and mental health calls, responding to another frequent criticism that 911 calls can lead to the death of a person in crisis when confronted with agents. armed.

And that would create a new Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention to oversee community health and public safety efforts, headed by a director with expertise in public health.

The resolution would also require more de-escalation efforts on the part of the police before using lethal force; prohibit lethal force in certain situations, such as shooting at moving cars; and prohibit the arrests or searches of persons for traffic violations, non-criminal offenses or arrest warrants.

The Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, Law Enforcement Labor Services, Minnesota Sheriffs’ Association and Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association wrote to city council urging them to reject the resolution, saying parts of it were in conflict. with several state statutes. And they said it would be dangerous for civilians to take control of some police situations, both for the public and civilian workers, and would likely lead to the fleeing of the 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 police in June. The officers of this incident have not been charged.


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