Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black father, was fatally shot on April 11, 2021.
Brooklyn Center, Minn., police officers discovered that he had an outstanding gross misdemeanor warrant after they stopped him for expired registration tags. Former officer Kim Porter says she meant to use her taser on Wright but accidentally pulled her gun. She is currently facing first-degree and second-degree manslaughter charges.
Now, the Minneapolis suburb has a new revamped policy as part of the Daunte Wright and Kobe Dimock-Heisler Community Safety and Violence Prevention Resolution, which was passed in May, about a month after Wright’s death.
Here’s what the policy change will be, according to the Associated Press:
Brooklyn Center announced Tuesday that officers are now instructed to release people who are cited for low-level crimes and can only take them into custody if required by law, which would include cases of felonies or if someone poses a threat to themselves, the public or to property. The policy also requires officers to attempt to deescalate situations.
AP reports that the cite-and-release policy is intended to help those who cannot afford bail after they’re stopped for minor traffic violations.
According to CBS Minnesota, the policy also gives officers the option to refer people to “one or more public assistance or service programs.”
The resolution is named after Wright and Kobe Dimock-Heisler, a 21-year-old autistic Black man shot by police in Brooklyn Center in 2019. Other plans from the resolution include a new community response team for mental health-related calls and an unarmed civilian department to handle minor traffic violations, CBS Minnesota reports. Mayor Mike Elliott hopes to roll them out next spring.
“It’s a small step we think in the right direction, but it is a small step,” said Munira Mohamed, a policy associate with the ACLU of Minnesota, according to CBS Minnesota. “And we don’t see this as a catch-all policy, and it isn’t even the highlight of the resolution passed earlier this year.”
AP notes that although law enforcement opposes some of the resolution’s plans, many residents are pleased with the steps taken for reform.
“Many people of color — particularly Black men — carry trauma from an experience, or many, when being pulled over by the police,” said City Council member Marquita Butler. “This policy is important and needed to ensure we don’t have any more deaths as a result of minor traffic infractions.”