WASHINGTON (SBG) - Officer Kim Potter and Police Chief Tim Gannon have resigned following the deadly shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.
“It's a tragic case. There's no question about that, a young man lost his life and his family has to deal with the aftermath of that,” said Jason Johnson, president of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund to The National Desk’s Jan Jeffcoat. “A police officer, who we have to remember is a human being, made an enormous life-ending mistake, and she has to deal with that.”
Johnson says that whether she faces charges or not is a decision that will be made on the local level. In the bodycam video of the shooting, Officer Potter can be heard yelling “taser” before shooting her gun a single time.
“It seems very clear to me that this was a mistake. I wouldn't call it an accidental discharge, she simply believes she had her taser in her hand, had a firearm in her hand and that's a mistake you cannot make,” said Johnson. “There will be accountability. Whether it results in criminal charges or not is I think too early to say.”
Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib took to Twitter, saying the shooting “wasn’t an accident.”
“Policing in our country is inherently and intentionally racist,” said Rep. Tlaib. “Daunte Wright was met with aggression and violence. I am done with those who condone government-funded murder. No more policing, incarcerating, and militarization. It can’t be reformed.”
Johnson responded by saying that “when you identify a problem you have to also identify a solution.”
“Congresswoman Tlaib does not identify any solution,” said Johnson. “Detroit, which is within her district, has a murder rate that is about two times that of Mexico and about three times that of Central America. It's got an enormous challenge recruiting police officers, it has one of the best police chiefs in America, but continues to struggle mightily to protect the public safety. So I think her comments are unserious.”
Maryland became the first state to repeal the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights, a move which Johnson said in an op-ed will “make the system far worse.”
“The biggest step back in the case of Maryland's new legislation is that it removes police chiefs and sheriffs from the equation when it comes to disciplining law enforcement officers and completely outsources the discipline of those officers,” said Johnson. “This new legislation gets rid of all that and it just uses responsibility in a group of civilian volunteers, who really have virtually no accountability in the process.”
As calls to defund the police continue from politicians and activists, Johnson says veteran officers are retiring and fewer people want to join law enforcement.
“And far fewer that actually meet minimum qualifications,” said Johnson. “We should be responding to this challenge by being able to increase qualifications, by looking for people with more varied experience, college degrees, people with mental health training, and other people who have experiences that would better enable them to connect to the community. Instead, we're going to have to reduce standards just to be able to fill positions.”