suburb where police
recently killed 20-year-old Daunte Wright
has approved a package of proposals aimed at improving public safety and violence prevention in the city.
The Daunte Wright and Kobe Dimock-Heisler Community Safety & Violence Prevention Act was passed by the Brooklyn Center City Council 4-1 on Saturday. Mayor Mike Elliott introduced the resolution last week, naming it after two men who died at the hands of police, one of whom was killed just last month.
“This will transform public safety in our city, honoring two young men robbed of their futures,” Elliott tweeted. “This is just the first step in a long road ahead, but that is work that we as a city are ready to do with our community. There will be lots of questions to answer, lots of learning, and lots of opportunities for the community to be at the center of this change.”
The resolution does not make any drastic changes right away, but rather lays out a plan for the city's policing system, including the establishment of an oversight office to oversee the city's police, fire, and two new city departments, Traffic Enforcement and Community Response.
The Traffic Enforcement Department will be comprised of unarmed civilians who will be responsible for non-moving traffic violations, whereas the Community Response Department will be comprised of trained medical, social work, and mental health
professionals who will respond to incidents in which a resident is experiencing a medical, mental health, or other behavioral or social need.
By passing the package of proposals, the City Council also agreed to form a committee composed primarily of residents who have previously been arrested, detained, or incarcerated, to review city safety data and make recommendations on how to modify or launch programs to improve community safety and prevent violence.
The resolution also limits the circumstances under which police officers can arrest people
and requires more de-escalation tactics before using deadly force. Additionally, offices will be required to issue citations by mail for traffic violations, non-felony offenses, and non-felony warrants.
BREAKING: Brooklyn Center passes comprehensive public safety resolution that includes:-creating unarmed response to mental health calls-creating unarmed enforcement of non-moving traffic violations-more regulation of use of force-citations for low level offenses, no [email protected]
pic.twitter.com/VIOACxqw8h— David Schuman (@david_schuman) May 15, 2021
“It is time,” said councilmember Marquita Butler, who voted in favor of the resolution alongside Elliott and colleagues April
Graves and Dan Ryan, according to the Star Tribune.
“We’ve been talking about these reforms for a long time, specifically since last June, following the death
of George Floyd
,” Butler said, “and we didn’t have as much urgency around it as we probably should have.”
camera footage shows Potter drawing her service weapon and repeatedly yelling "Taser!" before fatally shooting
Wright on April 11 after he was pulled over for a non-moving traffic violation. Potter, the police chief, and the city manager have all since resigned.
According to KARE-11, in 2019, Brooklyn Center police shot and killed Kobe Dimock-Heisler, who had a mental illness and was on the autism spectrum. The 21-year-old's grandfather made a mental health call to police after fearing Dimock-Heisler would injure himself when he grabbed a knife, but then tried to reverse the call after saying the situation was resolved.
Despite this, police arrived and, while their body cameras were turned off as they interrogated and likely agitated Dimock-Heisler, footage shows them attempting to shock the crying young man and then repeatedly shooting at him as he runs toward his grandmother. Police were not charged in the incident.
Daunte Wright's mother is testifying right now, and everyone is crying. She says Daunte Wright would be alive today if this law had been in place, and she fully supports its passage. https://t.co/Ro1erhsDvw pic.twitter.com/1pjxWtti76 — Udi Ofer (@UdiACLU) May 15, 2021
Dozens of people reportedly spoke at the council meeting, including the families of the young men killed. According to The Associated Press
, Daunte Wright's mother, Katie Wright, believes her son would still be alive if the resolution passed earlier.
and groups have expressed concern about the resolution, claiming that it will jeopardize public safety; however, the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota
has stated that it is a step toward alternatives to traditional policing, which has too often harmed people of color.
“I am so proud of Brooklyn Center for remaking their public safety system,” Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) tweeted, adding that “this gives [a] roadmap to other cities across the country on necessary steps towards creating a more just system.”