By Alex Segura Lozano
Los Angeles, Apr 13 (EFE).- The police officer who shot and killed 20-year-old African American Daunte Wright on Tuesday turned in her resignation along with the police chief of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, where the shooting occurred, after a second night of racial disturbances that ended with 50 arrests.
The resignations came shortly after Wright’s parents categorically rejected the official version of their son’s death, which the officer and the chief had claimed was “accidental.”
Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott said at a press conference that the resignations of Officer Kim Potter and Chief Tim Gannon had been made of their own accord.
Elliott said that nobody asked the pair to resign but added that he supported Potter’s decision to step down, going on to say: “Let me be clear, we will get to the bottom of this. We will do all that is within our power to make sure justice is done for Daunte Wright.”
“I have loved every minute of being a police officer and serving this community to the best of my ability, but I believe it is the best interest of the community, the department, and my fellow officers if I resign immediately,” said Potter, a member of the police force for 26 years, in her resignation letter to city officials.
Wright died Sunday afternoon in the driver’s seat of the car he was driving after, during a traffic stop, Potter shot him once – allegedly accidentally – police said on Monday.
According to the police version of events, the white officer said she intended to use her Taser to immobilize Wright, who can be seen struggling with police in their body camera videos, which were publicly released, but she mistakenly drew her pistol and fired one shot into the young man’s chest.
However, the victim’s parents on Tuesday rejected the accident claim.
“I can’t accept that – a mistake, that doesn’t even sound right. This officer has been on the force for 26 years. I can’t accept that,” said Aubrey Wright, the victim’s father, on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
One of the family’s attorneys, Jeffrey Storms, told CNN that the police department’s explanation that the shooting appeared to be an accident “is by no means proper or enough.”
“There were a number of intentional events that led to (Daunte Wright) being dead, and we need to find out exactly why each one of those intentional events happened,” Storms said.
The incident occurred amid heightened tensions in nearby Minneapolis, where the trial of former local police officer Derek Chauvin is under way for the death of African American George Floyd last May, an incident which sparked a nationwide wave of racial protests.
The families of both men killed by police in Minnesota organized a joint press conference to demonstrate their “unity,” they said.
Floyd’s brother Philonise told Wright’s family at the press conference that his family would support them and “fight for justice” for them just as he said they are doing for their own relative.
Meanwhile, the mother of Wright’s 2-year-old son, Chyna Whitaker, was one of the relatives who spoke at the press conference, while the father of the young man, visibly emotional, was unable to speak publicly at that time, one of the attorneys said.
“My son, he don’t have a dad. I feel like they stole my son’s dad from him,” Whitaker said.
Wright’s death at the hands of the police motivated hundreds of demonstrators on Monday night to defy the local curfew imposed by the Minnesota governor to prevent disturbances, and the resulting protests, mayhem and looting resulted in more than 50 arrests.
The clashes, which began on Sunday evening, resumed Monday evening with the detonation of fireworks and the deployment of tear gas around police headquarters in Brooklyn Center, where many demonstrators had gathered.
Local authorities expect that the protests will continue for at least the next few days.