The city has also agreed to facilitate “changes to its policies and police officer training related to making traffic stops for equipment violations that do not interfere with the safety of the driver, passenger or members of the community,” according to a statement from lawyers representing Wright’s family released Tuesday night.
Attorneys said the $3.25 million settlement is thought to be the third-largest civil rights wrongful death settlement of its kind in Minnesota and the largest such settlement for a city in Minnesota outside Minneapolis.
The city of Minneapolis in March 2021 agreed to pay a record $27 million to settle a civil lawsuit brought by George Floyd’s family following his death in police custody.
“There is no true justice for the Wrights because Daunte is never coming home,” said co-counsel Jeff Storms of the Newmark Storms Dworak law firm based in Minneapolis in a statement. “The financial component of this settlement cannot come close to compensating the family for their loss, yet the comparative cost for and commitment by the city reflects a commitment to accountability for this small community.”
“A guiding principle of our efforts was to strike a balance between holding Brooklyn Center accountable while not undermining the financial stability of the city or limiting the services it provides to its residents, many of whom are people of color.”
Lawyers noted, however, that the settlement will not be finalized until an agreement is made on substantial and “meaningful nonmonetary relief.”
They anticipate that relief will include training for the city’s police department on officer intervention, implicit bias, weapons confusion, de-escalation, and mental health crises,” according to the statement.
A permanent memorial to the 20-year-old will also be created at the same site as the current memorial, lawyers said.
Wright was shot and killed by Brooklyn Center Police Department officer Kim Potter on April 11, 2021, after he was pulled over near Minneapolis because his vehicle registration was not up to date.
Potter was found guilty of first- and second-degree manslaughter in December and was given a 16-month prison sentence. She had previously resigned two days after Wright was killed.
Her lawyers had maintained that she inadvertently pulled out her gun instead of a Taser after Wright tried to flee the encounter.
Police body camera and dashcam footage that was shown at the start of her manslaughter trial late last year showed Potter collapsing in tears after shooting and killing Wright during the traffic stop.
She could also be heard yelling out: “Oh [expletive]! I just shot him. I grabbed the wrong [expletive] gun! I shot him. Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God. I’m going to prison.”
“We hope black families, people of color, and all residents feel safer now in Brooklyn Center because of the changes the city must make to resolve our claims,” said Wright’s parents, Katie and Aubrey Wright, in a statement following the settlement.
“It is vital to us that the city fulfill its good-faith commitment to fully funding and implementing the Daunte Wright and Kobe Dimock-Heisler Community Safety and Violence Prevention Resolution.”