“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,” Peters said.
“I’m not excusing it,” Peters continued, “but what we’re seeing in policing these days is that noncompliance by the public.”
Peters did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Kim Potter, the former police officer who fatally shotWright during a traffic stop Sunday in suburban Minneapolis, has been arrested and charged with second-degree manslaughter, authorities announced Wednesday.
The 26-year veteran officer, who is White, resigned from the Brooklyn Center, Minn., police department on Tuesday along with Chief Tim Gannon, who announced his resignation later that day.
On Monday, Gannon said it appeared that Potter had mistakenly grabbed her gun instead of her Taser and made an “accidental discharge,” from her gun, fatally shooting Wright.
The incident was captured on body-camera video released by the police. Two officers approach Wright’s car, and, after a brief conversation, take the 20-year-old out of the car and handcuff him.
According to the criminal complaint, Wright had an outstanding warrant for illegally carrying a weapon, for which he was told he was being placed under arrest.
As Wright starts to struggle, a female officer comes over to assist and is heard yelling “I’ll Tase you!” and then “Taser! Taser! Taser!” before firing her weapon.
Immediately after she is heard saying, “Holy s—, I shot him.”
The tragic event sparked days of protests and resulted in clashes between demonstrators and police officers in riot gear in the area where tensions were already running high with the ongoing murder trial of former officer Derek Chauvin in downtown Minneapolis in the May 2020 killing of George Floyd.
The day after the tragic event, Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliot announced that the City Council had voted to fire City Manager Curt Boganey and transferred temporary police command power to the mayor.
Boganey had previously said Potter deserved to receive “due process,” while Elliot stated the officer should be dismissed.
In the news talk show, Peters harshly criticized the mayor’s actions, and said Boganey and Gannon were “political pawns in whatever game the current mayor is playing,” describing the city’s leadership in dealing with the case as “completely ridiculous.”
“The decisions that this mayor is making is completely just nothing like I’ve ever seen,” Peters told WCCO Morning News.
The manslaughter charges against Potter are relatively uncommon in cases of fatal police shootings, which rarely end up in charges — or prosecution — and are often deemed as justified use of force.
The termination of the local officials is also remarkable as the city fundamentally transformed the leadership power structure, only one day after the incident and the social unrest that ensued.
Wright’s death also added fire to an already heated debate surrounding police reform.
When asked about Gov. Tim Walz’s previous endorsement of police reform, Peters disparaged some of the measures such as ending qualified immunity, arguing it would “devastate” the police force.
“To cast a dark shadow over the majority of police officers in this state, I think, is unwarranted,” he added.
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) weighed in on the issue Tuesday and said on Twitter that reform measures like “cameras, chokehold bans, ‘retraining’ funds” do not solve what she called “a systemic problem.”
Ocasio-Cortez also rebutted the police claim that Wright’s death was an “accident,” and argued instead that his death was a result of “an indefensible system that grants impunity for state violence.”