After Daunte Wright Killing, Brooklyn Center Stands In Middle Of Police Reform Debate

While police reform bills are being considered at both the state and federal level, Brooklyn Center has decided to take up the issue on its own, Esme Murphy reports (1:58). WCCO 4 News At 6 - May 11, 2021

Video Transcript

- The small city of Brooklyn Center finds itself in the middle of a national debate on police reform and accountability since the police shooting death of Daunte Wright last month. And while police reform bills are being considered at both the state and federal level, Brooklyn Center has decided to take up the issue on its own. Esme Murphy looks at what changes the city council could soon vote on.

ESME MURPHY: For those who stop by the ever-growing Memorial to Daunte Wright, changes to policing are welcome.

- A lot of things just need to change. The change needs to happen.

ESME MURPHY: Brooklyn Center is considering changing its laws and having unarmed traffic officers handle minor traffic offenses, including having expired tags. That was the offense Daunte Wright was pulled over for.

JANET WELLS: Our daughters knew Daunte.

ESME MURPHY: Janet Wells says she likes the concept of unarmed traffic enforcement.

JANET WELLS: I think that's a great idea because it will leave a lot of stress off of people. A lot of people won't be as nervous and afraid and scared.

ESME MURPHY: Obviously, any kind of reform or action taken by the Brooklyn Center City Council would only impact police here in Brooklyn Center. Similar reforms, though, are being proposed at the state legislature. They're up for debate right now, and those would affect law enforcement statewide.

In Brooklyn Center, changes are being championed by Mayor Mike Elliot.

MIKE ELLIOTT: This is better for our community, our safety, and for prioritizing the time of our police officers.

ESME MURPHY: And not everyone agrees with him.

SHIRLEY PETERSON: Is the fellow in the car going to have a gun? I just think they have to be protected also.

ESME MURPHY: This woman did tell us she likes another of the mayor's proposals-- one that would send social workers, if possible, along with officers to mental health calls. Esme Murphy, WCCO 4 News.

- It's not clear when the Brooklyn Center Council will vote on these proposals. The end of Minnesota's regularly scheduled state legislative session is Monday.