The protesters – shouting obscenities, shaking the police station’s security fence and occasionally lobbing water bottles – began thinning out as the 10 p.m. curfew approached in Brooklyn Center.
Former Brooklyn Center police Officer Kim Potter was charged with second-degree manslaughter in Sunday’s shooting of Wright, 20, during a traffic stop. The former police chief of Brooklyn Center, a majority nonwhite suburb, said Potter mistakenly fired her handgun when she meant to use her Taser. Both the chief and Potter resigned Tuesday.
Potter – who was released on $100,000 bond hours after her Wednesday arrest – appeared alongside her attorney, Earl Gray, at her initial appearance Thursday over Zoom, saying little. Gray kept his camera on himself for most of the hearing, swiveling it only briefly to show Potter. Her next court appearance was set for May 17.
Wright’s death has been followed by protests every night this week outside the city’s police station, with demonstrators sometimes clashing with officers who have driven them away with gas grenades, rubber bullets and long lines of riot police.
While the Thursday night protest in Brooklyn Center focused largely on Wright’s death, some in the crowds noted it came hours after police in Chicago released graphic body camera video of an officer fatally shooting 13-year-old Adam Toledo, a Hispanic boy, in March.
“It is happening in every single city, every single day across the country,” Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told protesters early in the evening, before leading them in a chant of “Say his name! Adam Toledo!”
Protesters also tied air fresheners to the fencing at the police station, a nod to Wright’s mother saying that her son told her he had been pulled over for an air freshener dangling from his mirror. Police say Wright was stopped for expired registration.
Wright’s family members, like the protesters, say there’s no justification for the shooting.
“Unfortunately, there’s never going to be justice for us,” Wright’s mother, Katie Wright, said at a news conference Thursday. “Justice isn’t even a word to me. I do want accountability.”
Wright family attorney Ben Crump and others point to the 2017 case of Mohamed Noor. The Black former Minneapolis police officer fatally shot Justine Ruszczyk Damond, a white woman, in the alley behind her home after she called 911 to report what she thought was a woman being assaulted.
Noor was convicted of third-degree murder in addition to second-degree manslaughter and sentenced to 12 1/2 years in prison. Potter’s charge carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence. Intent isn’t a necessary component of either charge. A…