Kim Potter was named as the Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, police officer who shot and killed Daunte Wright after mistakenly thinking her gun was a taser.
“BCA identifies Brooklyn Center officer who shot #DaunteWright– Kim Potter, 26 year veteran of the department. Chief Tim Gannon says Potter meant to deploy her taser, pulled out her firearm & fired instead during Sunday traffic stop,” wrote Fox9 journalist Paul Blume on Twitter. Her full name is Kimberly Potter.
After Wright’s death on the afternoon of April 11, 2021, protests broke out in Brooklyn Center, and his family gathered at the scene. Tensions are high in the community located just about 15 minutes from the spot where George Floyd died.
Kimberly A. Potter shot Wright in a traffic stop; police say they did not find a weapon in Wright’s car. They said in a press release that he tried to re-enter his vehicle when the officer shot him, and the chief played traumatic body cam video that shows the officer shouting that she had a taser before fatally shooting Wright. Authorities formally named Wright, 20, as the man shot, and his family named him at the scene to local media outlets in Minnesota.
Wright’s family claimed that he was pulled over due to an air freshener hanging in his car, but police now say that he was actually pulled over for having expired tags.
In the news conference, the chief said social media reports that the officer had died of suicide were false.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Officer Shouted ‘I’ll Tase You’ to Wright But Shot Him With Her Service Weapon Instead
Graphic body cam video released by the Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, police chief in a news conference appears to back up his contention that the female officer who shot Wright mistakenly thought she was using her taser.
Instead, she used her handgun and shot Wright at close range, killing him, the video reveals. Police Chief Tim Gannon released the portion of body cam video in an April 12, 2021, press conference.
“As I watch the video and listen to the officer’s commands, it is my belief that the officer had the intention to deploy their Taser, but instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet,” the chief said in the news conference. “This appears to me, from what I viewed, and the officer’s reaction in distress immediately after, that this was an accidental discharge.”
He added that “my heart goes out to Daunte’s family.” He called the shooting “heartbreaking and unfathomable” and promised “transparency and accountability.”
The body cam video shows Wright’s car pulled over to the side of the road. Two male police officers approach it, one on either side. Wright is asked to step out of the vehicle and does. It starts at about 1:20 into the above video.
A male officer starts handcuffing him from behind. Gannon said he was being arrested for an outstanding misdemeanor warrant. At that time, you see the female officer approach. She puts her hands on Wright to assist the male officer in taking him into custody.
At that time, he breaks away from the officers and tries to get back into his car. A struggle ignites. “I’ll tase you! I’ll tase you!” she shouts to Wright in the video, weapon drawn. “Taser, taser, taser!”
But when she fires, it’s her firearm, not her taser. “Holy sh*t, I just shot him,” she says. The body cam video shared with the public ended there.
The shooting death sparked protests and riots with numerous stores looted on the evening of April 11.
2. The Mayor Wants Officer Kim Potter Fired
Effective immediately our city manager has been relieved of his duties, and the deputy city manager will be assuming his duties moving forward. I will continue to work my hardest to ensure good leadership at all levels of our city government.
— Mayor Mike Elliott (@mayor_elliott) April 12, 2021
The officer is on administrative leave, but the mayor wants her to lose her job.
The mayor of Brooklyn Center, Mike Elliott, called for the officer to be fired. “My position is that we can not afford to make mistakes that lead to the loss of life of other people in our profession so I do fully support releasing the officer of her duties,” the mayor said.
The mayor later removed the city manager, who had said the officer would get due process, from his duties. “Effective immediately our city manager has been relieved of his duties, and the deputy city manager will be assuming his duties moving forward. I will continue to work my hardest to ensure good leadership at all levels of our city government,” he wrote on Twitter.
He also explained, “Moments ago the council passed a motion 3-2 to give command authority over our Police Department to my office. At such a tough time, this will streamline things and establish a chain of command and leadership. I appreciate the other councilmembers who voted to approve this motion.”
3. The Chief Described the Officer as a ‘Very Senior Officer’; She’s Been on the Force More Than 26 Years
Gannon called the officer a very senior officer. According to her LinkedIn page, Kim Potter has worked for Brooklyn Center as a police officer for 26 years and three months.
“She has the right to be heard. She has the right to give her statement. She has a right to tell what she felt, what she thought. Not what I thought. Not what I saw. But what she thought,” he said. “She will not be returning to duty until this investigation has run its course and she, for all intents and purposes, I think we can look at the video and ascertain whether or not she’ll be returning.”
“As you can hear, the officer while struggling with Mr. Wright shouts, ‘Taser, Taser’ several times. That is a part of the officer’s training prior to deploying a Taser, which is a less lethal device. That is done to make her partners aware, as well as the subject, that a Taser deployment will be imminent. During this encounter, however, the officer drew their handgun instead of their Taser,” Gannon explained.
4. The Officers Stopped Wright Because His Tags Were Expired
Gannon revealed the reason for the traffic stop.
“The tags were expired. Upon arrival when the officer made contact, at that time when he walked up to the car he discovered there was a hanging item from the rearview mirror. So there was a contact that the officer went up there initially for, obtained his ID, or his name, he walked back to his car and at that time he ran his name and he found out that he had a warrant. That’s why they removed him from the car and they were making custodial arrest,” said Gannon.
That contradicted information from Wright’s mother, who told reporters that she believed he was stopped because of the air fresheners. Wright, 20, was the father of a young child. The chief said he did not believe Wright had any weapon in his vehicle.
READ NEXT: Learn More About Daunte Wright.
Videos from the scene showed people jumping on the roof of a police and shouting “f*** the police.”
Happening now in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota following an officer-involved shooting:
— Shelby Talcott (@ShelbyTalcott) April 12, 2021
According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, relatives identified the man shot as Wright, 20.
Star Tribune reporter Kim Hyatt wrote on Twitter, “Tense scene at the intersection of 63rd and Lee Ave N in Brooklyn Center. A crowd is shouting at the press and police saying that an officer didn’t have to kill a man. BCA is here investigating.”
5. Tensions Were Already Heightened by the Trial of Derek Chauvin
Mother Katie Wright sent me this photo of her son with her grandson Daunte Jr. He’ll be 2 years old in July. pic.twitter.com/w07STKOmks
— Kim Hyatt (@kimvhyatt) April 11, 2021
It all comes as tensions are already heightened in Minnesota due to the trial of Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension wrote on Twitter that there was an officer-involved shooting, and they said it was in Brooklyn Center in their tweet.
“BCA agents and crime scene personnel are en route to an officer involved shooting incident in Brooklyn Center. More information to come,” they wrote. They’re the investigating agency.
BCA agents and crime scene personnel are en route to an officer involved shooting incident in Brooklyn Center. More information to come.
— Minnesota BCA (@MnDPS_BCA) April 11, 2021
Brooklyn Center police wrote in a news release that Brooklyn Center Police Department officers “initiated a stop for a traffic violation in the area of the 6300 block of Orchard Ave. in Brooklyn Center shortly before 2 p.m. Sunday.”
Officers determined the driver had an outstanding warrant. “At one point as officers were attempting to take the driver into custody, the driver re-entered the vehicle.”
— Jeml756 (@jeml756) April 12, 2021
“One officer discharged their firearm, striking the driver.
The vehicle traveled several blocks before striking another vehicle,” wrote police.
Officers in pursuit and responding medical personnel attempted life saving measures, but Wright died at the scene. Authorities are not releasing his name until a preliminary autopsy and family notification.
— Nina Moini (@ninamoini) April 12, 2021
There was a female passenger in the car who sustained non life-threatening injuries during the crash. She was transported to North Memorial Health Hospital in Robbinsdale. Occupants of the vehicle that was struck during the crash were not uninjured, police wrote.
Nicole Neri, a freelance photojournalist, wrote on Twitter, “Daunte Wright was shot and killed by police during a traffic stop around 2pm today. Im here at the scene, where several dozen people are chanting and holding space at the police line.”
Daunte Wright was shot and killed by police during a traffic stop around 2pm today. Im here at the scene, where several dozen people are chanting and holding space at the police line pic.twitter.com/MgF3UIiv1G
— Nicole Neri (@nicolehneri) April 12, 2021
Tim Nelson, of Wisconsin Public Radio, wrote on Twitter, “Katie Wright says her son, Daunte was killed in Brooklyn Center a shooting involving police. She said he was taking his new car to get it washed when an encounter with police apparently turned fatal Sunday afternoon.”
It’s believed body worn cameras and dash cameras were activated, according to the police press release, although those haven’t been released yet. The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating.
The Star Tribune reported that a police officer was injured and taken to the hospital, according to dispatch audio. However, it was not yet clear what that officer’s condition was or how the injuries were caused.
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