Minneapolis suburb OKs roadmap for policing changes

Full Screen
1 / 2

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

FILE- In this April 14, 2021, file photo, police shine lights on a demonstrator with raised hands during a protest outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department on in Brooklyn Center, Minn., over the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright. Brooklyn Center, the Minneapolis suburb where a white police officer fatally shot Wright, a Black motorist in April, sparking a week of protests, planned a weekend vote on a resolution calling for major changes to its policing. The resolution backed by Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott would create a new division of unarmed civilian employees to handle traffic violations and another unarmed division to respond to people in crisis. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. – Elected officials in a Minneapolis suburb where a police officer fatally shot Daunte Wright during a traffic stop in April approved a resolution that puts the city on track to major changes to its policing practices.

The Brooklyn Center City Council voted 4-1 Saturday in favor of a resolution that would create new divisions of unarmed civilian employees to handle non-moving traffic violations and respond to mental health crises. It also limits situations in which officers can make arrests and requires more de-escalation efforts by police before using deadly force. In addition, a new Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention would be formed to oversee efforts on community health and public safety, led by a director with public health expertise.

The city attorney and mayor have said that adopting the resolution commits the city to change, though it is not a final action.

The resolution "will establish a new north star for our community, one that will keep all of us safe,” said Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott. “It says that we, as your elected leaders, are committing ourselves. And that you can hold us accountable for achieving those goals.”

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 motorist. The city’s police chief, who has since stepped down, has said he believed Potter meant to use her Taser on Wright during the April 11 stop instead of her handgun. Body camera video shows her shouting “Taser!” multiple times before firing. The shooting ignited days of unrest.

Council Members Marquita Butler, April Graves and Dan Ryan joined Elliott in voting for the resolution. Council Member Kris Lawrence-Anderson voted against it, saying that the council hadn’t taken enough time to weigh the proposal, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

The three-hour meeting included testimony from Wright's family as well as the family of Kobe Dimock-Heisler, who also was killed by Brooklyn Center police.

“I truly believe if this was implemented prior to April 11, our son would still be with us today,” said Katie Wright, Daunte’s mother.