A suburb of Minneapolis, the scene of fatal shootings of black men by police, has passed a police reform bill to reform public safety.
Brooklyn Center City Council voted 4-1 on Saturday pass the resolution that would reduce police powers and create an unarmed unit to respond to incidents involving medical, mental health, disability, social and behavioral issues.
The bill will be named after two men, Daunte Wright and Kobe Dimock-Heisler, who were killed in encounters with city law enforcement officers.
Mayor Mike Elliott said in a written statement posted on Facebook that Daunte Wright and Kobe Dimock-Heisler’s resolution on community safety and violence prevention was a “commitment to do better.”
He said: “This resolution – which is a reflection of hours of community testimony over the past few weeks – will transform our system so that the police are not the only answer available for everything. This creates a way to send civil and community responses and also increases transparency, accountability and community contribution. “
This is only the first step in a long road ahead – but it is work that we, as a city, are ready to do with our community. Daunte Wright, 20, was shot and killed during a traffic stop by a police officer in Brooklyn Center. Constable Kim Potter, 48, has been charged with second degree manslaughter after claiming that she accidentally fired her gun, mistakenly grabbing it instead of her Taser. She hasn’t pleaded yet.
In 2019 Kobe Dimock Heisler, 21, was gunned down by officers who answered a 911 call from his grandfather who was having trouble calming him down following an argument. Mr. Heisler had a history of mental health problems and was autistic.
No charges were laid against the officers.
After the vote, Daunte Wright’s mother Katie Wright said her son would still be alive if these measures were in place on April 11.
“I don’t wish this on anyone in the room, and in order for that not to happen, we need this resolution,” Ms. Wright said.
Brooklyn Center is about 10 miles from where George Floyd, a black man, was murdered by former police officer Derek Chauvin in May 2020.
Mr Floyd’s death sparked global protests calling for racial justice and an end to police brutality. Chauvin was convicted of murder in April and faces decades in prison.
The Brooklyn Center reforms will include an expert committee to advise on how to take a public health-focused approach to community safety, as well as an oversight committee for the Brooklyn Center Police Department.
There will be an unarmed community response team to assist with mental health and medical crises, meaning that 911 calls of this nature would be diverted from the police department.
A “citation and summons” policy will be implemented to prevent officers from making arrests or searching vehicles for traffic violations.
Jaylani Hussein, Executive Director of the anti-racism nonprofit CAIR-MN, said: “It’s about saving lives and protecting the most vulnerable in our community, those facing hardships. mental health crises and their families and the poor. in this city work hard everyday and get arrested for no reason by police. “
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