BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. (AP) — A suburban Minneapolis town 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 he mistook his gun for his Taser.
The tentative settlement also includes changes to police policies and training involving traffic stops like the one that led to Wright’s death, according to a statement late Tuesday from attorneys representing Wright’s family.
Wright was shot in the chest by Brooklyn Center officer Kim Potter, who is white, after the 20-year-old was arrested for expired registration tags in April 2021. The former officer went on to was 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 firing his gun.
Wright’s family members “hope and believe that the measures of policing, policy and training change will create significant improvements in the community on Daunte’s behalf,” co-lawyer Antonio M. Romanucci said. “Nothing can bring him back, but the family hopes his legacy will be positive and prevent any other family from experiencing 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 shooting came at a time of high tension in the area, with former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, on trial a few miles away for the murder of George Floyd, who was black. Floyd’s death in May 2020 prompted judgment on police brutality and discrimination involving people of color.
The fallout from Wright’s death led the Brooklyn Center City Council to enact 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 do not not require the font.
The changes also prohibit police from making arrests for minor violations 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 Floyd’s family $27 million.
Minneapolis previously paid $20 million to the family of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, after she called 911 to report an alleged assault behind her home in July 2017 and was shot dead by Mohamed Noor, one of the officers who responded to her call. Noor is Somali and Damond was white.
Find full AP coverage of the Daunte Wright case: https://apnews.com/hub/death-of-daunte-wright
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