Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced Friday that he will lead the prosecution against the former police officer who shot and killed 20-year-old Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center in April.
“Daunte Wright was a son, a brother, a father, a friend. When he died, he was only 20 years old. He had his whole life ahead of him,” Ellison said of Wright, who was Black, in a news release.
The attorney general called Wright’s killing “a tragedy,” saying, “He should not have died on the day that he did. He should not have died the way that he did.”
Wright was shot and killed by former Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter during a traffic stop. Police said the veteran officer, who is white, meant to use her stun gun. Wright’s parents said they “cannot accept” that explanation.
Wright’s death was followed by widespread protests calling for justice.
Ellison was the lead prosecutor in the trial against Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer who killed George Floyd, a Black father, in May 2020 by kneeling on his neck for nine minutes. Chauvin was found guilty on all charges last month.
Ellison, who was elected to the state attorney general post in 2018, has a history as a civil rights activist, and has worked specifically on police accountability issues. He was previously a public interest attorney, state lawmaker and member of Congress.
In taking on the lead prosecution in the Wright case, Ellison noted that it came from a request from the Hennepin County attorney’s office and he does “not accept it lightly.”
He warned that despite the successful prosecution of Chauvin, “no one … should expect this case will be easy to prosecute.”
“History shows that this case, like all cases of officer-involved deaths by deadly force, will be difficult,” Ellison said, while expressing hope that “we will break the cycle of history and establish a new standard for justice.”
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