$3.2-million settlement reached in police killing of Daunte Wright
A suburban Minneapolis city has agreed to pay $3.2 million to the family of Daunte Wright, a Black man who was fatally shot by a police officer who said she confused her gun for her Taser.
The tentative settlement also includes changes in police policies and training involving traffic stops like the one that resulted in Wright’s death, according to a statement Tuesday night from attorneys representing Wright’s family.
Wright was shot once in the chest by Brooklyn Center Officer Kim Potter, who is white, after the 20-year-old was stopped for expired registration tags in April 2021. The former officer was subsequently convicted of first- and second-degree manslaughter and was sentenced to two years in prison.
Potter is heard on video yelling “Taser” several times just before she fires her pistol.
Wright’s family members “hope and believe the measures of change to policing, policies and training will create important improvements to the community in Daunte’s name,” said co-counsel Antonio M. Romanucci. “Nothing can bring him back, but the family hopes his legacy is a positive one and prevents any other family from enduring the type of grief they will live with for the rest of their lives.”
The Associated Press left a message Wednesday seeking comment from the mayor’s office.
The issue of race was barely brought up during the trial of Kim Potter, who received a two-year sentence, including parole.
The shooting happened at a time of high tension in the area, with former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, standing trial just miles away for the killing of George Floyd, who was Black. Floyd’s May 2020 death prompted a reckoning over police brutality and discrimination involving people of color.
The fallout from Wright’s death led the Brooklyn Center City Council to pass a series of reforms, including the use of social workers and other trained professionals to respond to medical, mental health and social-needs calls that don’t require police.
The changes also prohibit police from making arrests for low-level offenses and require the city to use unarmed civilians to handle minor traffic violations.
The settlement is one of the largest involving police conduct in Minnesota. Last year, the city of Minneapolis agreed to pay $27 million to Floyd’s family.
Minneapolis previously paid $20 million to the family of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, after she called 911 to report a suspected assault behind her home in July 2017 and was fatally shot by Mohamed Noor, one of the officers who responded to her call. Noor is Somali American and Damond was white.
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