Daunte Wright’s family reaches $3.25m settlement with city of Minnesota over police shooting death

·2 min read

Daunte Wright’s family has reached a $3.25m settlement with the city of Minnesota in response to his death at the hands of a police officer.

The city of Brooklyn Center agreed to pay the sum in an effort to settle a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Wright’s family last year. They also agreed to make changes to policies and training for its police department.

Wright, a 20-year-old Black man and father-of-one, was shot and killed by Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kim Potter, a white woman, during a traffic stop in Minnesota on 11 April 2021.

Potter had pulled the man over for expired licence plate tags and an air freshener hanging in his rear-view window. She then tried to arrest him for an outstanding warrant.

When Wright tried to drive away, Potter fired one shot and killed him.

The officer, a 26-year veteran officer, said she mistook her firearm for her Taser.

Bodycam footage of the incident revealed her shouting “Taser! Taser! Taser!” before opening fire.

On Tuesday, attorneys for Wright’s family announced that the monetary settlement in the wrongful death suit had been reached with the city.

It will be finalised once the parties have come to an agreement around “substantial and meaningful non-monetary relief” — specifically changes to policing policies and training.

Such changes are expected to include the way police officers are trained in handling traffic stops and in deescalation, as well as training around implicit bias, weapons confusion and mental health, the attorneys said.

The agreement will also include funding for a permanent memorial to Wright in the city.

Wright’s parents said that they hoped the changes brought about by the settlement would help make Black Minnesotans feel safer in the city.

Daunte Wright was shot dead by Brooklyn Center officer Kim Potter (Family Handout)
Daunte Wright was shot dead by Brooklyn Center officer Kim Potter (Family Handout)

“We hope Black families, people of color, and all residents feel safer now in Brooklyn Center because of the changes the city must make to resolve our claims,” said Katie and Arbuey Wright in a statement.

The $3.25m settlement is believed to be the third-largest civil rights wrongful death settlement in Minnesota history and the largest for a city in Minnesota outside Minneapolis.

Potter was found guilty of first-degree manslaughter and second-degree manslaughter over Wright’s death in December. In February, she was sentenced to two years in prison – a sentence that was slammed by Wright’s family.

The Black 20-year-old’s death drew parallels with the murder of George Floyd – another Black man who was killed by a white police officer in Minnesota.

Wright’s killing came at a time when former police officer Derek Chauvin was on trial for Floyd’s 2020 murder and led to renewed protests calling for racial justice and an end to police brutality.