The city of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota has agreed to pay a $3.2 million settlement to the family of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old black man who was fatally shot by a police officer during a traffic stop in April 2021 near Minneapolis. The officer said she intended to fire her Taser instead.
The settlement, announced by the legal team for Mr Wright’s family on Tuesday, will be finalized after an agreement is also reached on “non-monetary” measures, including training for the city’s police. The attorneys said Tuesday they expect the deal will include training for the Central Brooklyn Police Department on topics including officer response, implicit bias, de-escalation and how to handle crises. of mental health. As part of the settlement, the University of St. Thomas is set to provide the police department with free cultural competency and implicit bias training.
Katie and Aubrey Wright, parents of Mr Wright, said in a statement on Tuesday that they hope residents of central Brooklyn will feel safer “because of the changes the city needs to make to resolve our claims”.
“Nothing can explain or fill the void in our lives without Daunte or our continued grief over the senseless manner in which he died,” Mr Wright’s parents said. “But in his name, we will move forward, and it was important to us that his loss was used for positive change in the community, not just a financial settlement for our family.”
The shooting occurred during the trial of Derek Chauvin, the white former Minneapolis police officer who was convicted of the murder of George Floyd, a black man whose death sparked global protests against police brutality. Demonstrations also took place at Brooklyn Center following the murder of Mr. Wright.
Mr. Wright, a 20-year-old black man, was on his way to a car wash in April 2021, when he was stopped by two Brooklyn Center police officers, Kimberly Potter. and Anthony Luckey, whom Mrs. Potter was training at the time. Constable Luckey began following Mr. Wright’s white Buick because he said he saw the car using the wrong turn signal. The car also had an expired registration sticker and an air freshener hanging from the rearview mirror, which is against the law in many states.
Police arrested Mr Wright after running his name through a police database and discovering he had a warrant for his arrest after missing a court date linked to charges he had unlawfully possessed a firearm and fled from the police.
Mr Wright got out of the car at the behest of Officer Luckey, but he turned away and tried to get back into the driver’s seat as Officer Luckey tried to handcuff him, videos showed the body camera. Moments later, Ms. Potter shouted that she would use her Taser on Mr. Wright, but instead drew her department-issued Glock and shot him.
Ms Potter, who is white, resigned two days after fatally shooting Mr Wright and was sentenced to two years in prison in February. His sentence is well below the standard of around seven years for manslaughter, but a judge said it was justified because Ms Potter intended to fire her Taser. Those close to Mr Wright at the time expressed outrage at what they saw as the leniency of the sentence.
Ms. Potter’s attorneys and Brooklyn Center police did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Wednesday.
Antonio Romanucci, an attorney for Mr Wright’s family, said the family hoped the changes to policing at Brooklyn Center would “create significant improvements in the community on Daunte’s behalf”.
Jeff Storms, another lawyer for Mr. Wright’s family, said in a statement on Tuesday that the financial settlement “may not come close to compensating the family for its loss, but the comparative cost and commitment of the city reflect a commitment to accountability for this small community.”
Nicolas Bogel-Burroughs contributed report.