The head of Minnesota’s largest police union slammed local officials over their handling of Daunte Wright’s police shooting death — as he blamed the 20-year-old victim for the fatal encounter.
“This is going to be an unpopular statement,” Brian Peters, executive director of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, told WCCO news talk radio Wednesday. “Daunte Wright, if he would have just complied. He was told he was under arrest. They were arresting him on a warrant for weapons. He set off a chain of events that unfortunately led to his death.”
“I’m not excusing it,” Peters continued. “But what we’re seeing in policing these days is that non-compliance by the public.”
The controversial statement comes one day after Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon and Officer Kimberly Potter, who shot and killed Wright during a traffic stop in the Minneapolis suburb Sunday, both resigned.
Bodycam footage shows Potter yelling, “Taser! Taser!” before she fired off a single round from her service weapon, mortally wounding Wright.
Gannon later said Potter, a 26-year veteran, thought she had grabbed her Taser instead of her firearm — although they are worn on opposite sides of an officer’s belt and vary radically in weight and appearance.
Their letters of resignation came in the wake of a city council vote late Monday to terminate Gannon, Potter and City Manager Curt Boganey.
“This is way over his head,” Peters said of Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott. “Both Curt Boganey and Tim Gannon were political pawns in whatever game the current mayor is playing. If I were the mayor, I would not allow the political activists to run the show.”
Wright’s death — just 10 miles from the site of George Floyd’s police-custody death on May 25 last year — has sparked widespread outrage and protests in Brooklyn Center and beyond.
State authorities are investigating the incident, and prosecutors in nearby Washington County, who took over the case, are expected to charge Potter as soon as Wednesday.
Additional reporting by Lee Brown