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Decision expected Wednesday on charges for officer who shot Daunte Wright

Daunte Wright shooting protests
Posted at 5:02 AM, Apr 14, 2021

Prosecutors expect to decide Wednesday whether to charge the white former police officer who fatally shot a Black man during a traffic stop in a Minneapolis suburb, sparking nights of protests and raising tensions amid the nearby murder trial of the ex-officer charged with killing George Floyd.

20-year-old Daunte Wright was fatally shot by police during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota on Sunday afternoon. At a press conference on Monday, then-Police Chief Tim Gannon said he believed that the officer who fired the fatal shot, Kim Potter, meant to fire her Taser but mistakenly grabbed her firearm.

The prosecutor’s decision will come a day after Potter tendered her resignation from the police department. Gannon also resigned on Tuesday. Brooklyn Center May Mike Elliott said during a press conference Tuesday that he was prepared to fire Potter had she not stepped down.

"I am tendering my resignation from the Brooklyn Center Police Department effective immediately. 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 in the best interest of the community, the department and my fellow officers if I resign immediately," Potter's resignation statement read, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Tuesday marked the third straight night of unrest in the city, which is located just outside the city limits of Minneapolis. While there were no reports of looting or burglaries on Tuesday evening, hundreds of protesters again gathered in front of the Brooklyn Center Police Station.

Local media outlets report that protests began peacefully around 4:30 p.m. local time on Tuesday. WCCO-TV reports that tensions began to rise just before 9 p.m., when some in the group attempted to knock down a temporary fence that had been erected around the station earlier this week.

Police began making arrests just after 9 p.m. The Star Tribune reports that officers fired tear gas at the crowd, which wafted into apartments surrounding the scene. WCCO added that police fired “less lethal” rounds into the crowd.

KTSP-TV reports that protests continued past the 10 p.m. city-wide curfew and that some in the crowd shot fireworks toward law enforcement.

Minnesota State Patrol Chief Matt Langer said that “upwards of 60 people” were arrested Tuesday night. Around 40 people were arrested on Monday night and just two people were arrested Sunday night — nights during which several area businesses were burglarized and looted.

The unrest sparked by Wright’s shooting takes place as the trial of Derek Chauvin is ongoing just miles away at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis. Chauvin is charged with second- and third-degree murder as well as manslaughter in connection with the death of George Floyd.

Floyd’s death and bystander video of the incident that showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck sparked widespread unrest in Minneapolis and across the country early last summer.

After more than two weeks of witness testimony in Chauvin’s trial, the prosecution finished its witness testimony on Tuesday. Judge Peter Cahill said earlier this week that he believes the defense could wrap up arguments as early as this week, and that closing arguments could begin by Monday.