On Tuesday, Kim Potter, the long-time police officer who shot and killed 20-year-old Daunte Wright on Sunday and the Brooklyn Center police chief Tim Gannon both resigned from the town’s police department.
In a letter to city officials announcing her resignation, Potter wrote, “I have loved every minute of being a police officer and serving this community to the best of my ability, but I believe it is in the best interest of the community, the department, and my fellow officers if I resign immediately.” Potter, who was—and you cannot make this up—training a rookie police officer on Sunday when she shot and killed Wright, had already been suspended pending an investigation by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, and may also face criminal charges, according to the Star Tribune.
According to Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott, Potter was not asked to resign by city officials, stating, “That was a decision she made.” On Monday, Elliott had stated that he believed Potter should be fired. “Let me be very clear: My position is that we cannot afford to make mistakes that lead to the loss of life of other people in our profession,” Elliott said at a press conference, adding, “So I do fully support releasing the officer of her duties.”
On Monday, Gannon had described Potter’s shooting and killing of Wright as “accidental.”
Family members of people who are killed by police officers often include firing the officers in their demands for accountability, a step that occurs far too rarely and often only with massive pressure. Just one example out of many: It took five years after NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo killed Eric Garner in 2014 for him to be fired, despite repeated demands from Garner’s mother Gwen Carr for her son’s killer to face consequences.
Getting rid of these officers and police officials is an important step, but one that is an inadequate one if nothing else changes. After all, there’s always funding for another cop to take their place.