Brooklyn Center mayor calls for peace, makes sweeping changes

Brooklyn Center mayor Mike Elliott, municipal leader of the suburb at the epicenter of the announced sudden and sweeping changes in the city’s police department on Tuesday, April, 13. The move comes in the aftermath of the police-involved shooting of a 20-year-old black man, Duante Wright.

Elliott is calling for his residents to stay calm and “stay home” after a third night of protests over the fatal police shooting of  Wright at a traffic stop. Demonstrators have defied a 7 p.m. curfew and clashed with law enforcement.

Elliott, 37, who was born in the country of Liberia is the city’s first Black mayor, announced earlier on Tuesday that the Brooklyn Center city council voted to shake up the chain of command in the police department and has moved command of the department to the mayor’s office.

“That’s what we’re going to continue to work for,” Elliott said. “We have to make sure that justice is served, justice is done. Daunte Wright deserves that, his family deserves that.”

The mayor said the new police leadership was committed to working with community leaders and protesters, who say Wright was racially profiled.

“We cannot afford to make mistakes that lead to the loss of life of other people,” Elliott said. “We’re going to do everything we can to ensure that justice is done and our communities are made whole.

Elliott also announced that the police chief and the city manager have been relieved of his duties, and that police officer Kim Potter who shot and killed Wright tendered her resignation on Tuesday morning. Porter contends that resigning is the best thing to do for the community and the city of Brooklyn Center. But as of Wednesday, Potter’s resignation has not been accepted, indicating that she may instead be fired, losing her benefits and pension.

Potter said she mistakenly shot and killed 20-year-old Duante Wright when she inadvertently pulled her gun instead of her taser when she detained Wright on Sunday, April 11.

Brooklyn Center’s police chief also opted to resign on Tuesday morning. Elliott had not accepted the chief’s resignation as of Wednesday morning.

“If you kill someone in any other line of work, you are at the very least going to lose your job,” the young mayor said.

Elliott also said he spoke with Wright’s family.

“What I can say, after my conversation with Mr. Wright’s father, is that justice looks like full accountability under the law,” he said. “There’s going to be a process where the officer is going to be in court. And is going to go through the legal system to determine guilt or innocence.”

However, he said the killing did point to a larger issue in the United States.

“One thing we do know is that far too often, young Black men and women are pulled over by law enforcement in this country, and end up dead. You know, that is unacceptable,” Elliott said. “I think that is a reflection of a system that needs transformation.”

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