POLITICS

City Manager In Minnesota Fired In Response To Police Shooting Of Daunte Wright

Brooklyn Center City Council voted to fire Curt Boganey and put Mayor Mike Elliott in charge of the police department after an officer killed the 20-year-old.

The city manager of a Minnesota suburb was fired on Monday in response to the fatal police shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright during a traffic stop a day earlier. 

The Brooklyn Center City Council gathered for an urgent meeting on Monday afternoon and voted to fire City Manager Curt Boganey and put Mayor Mike Elliott in charge of the police department. Councilmember Dan Ryan announced the decision during a virtual council workshop, according to the Minnesota Star Tribune, and Elliott confirmed it on Twitter.

“Moments ago the council passed a motion 3-2 to give command authority over our Police Department to my office,” Elliott tweeted. “At such a tough time, this will streamline things and establish a chain of command and leadership. I appreciate the other councilmembers who voted to approve this motion.”

In a later tweet, Elliott said that Boganey “had been relieved of his duties” effective immediately and that the deputy city manager “will be assuming his duties moving forward.” Boganey had served in the position since 2003, according to his LinkedIn profile.

The appointed position of city manager has more municipal power than a mayor in some city governments, helping bridge the gap between politics and government administration. A city manager is basically a municipality’s executive officer who runs government operations and is in charge of hiring, staffing and budgeting ― including for the police department — among other things.

Police shot and killed Wright, who is Black, on Sunday afternoon after pulling him over for a traffic violation. Newly released body camera footage appears to show officers trying to arrest Wright outside of his vehicle for what they later found was an outstanding warrant. A struggle ensued, and an officer who was repeatedly yelling “Taser!” shot Wright as he tried to climb back into his car.

At a press conference earlier Monday, Police Chief Tim Gannon said the officer who killed Wright likely meant to use a Taser but mistakenly used her gun instead. Gannon would not identify the officer ― only describing her as very senior ― and said she is on administrative leave pending an investigation.

Boganey, who until Monday evening had control over police personnel, said the officer who shot Wright will get “due process.”

A woman who attended the presser said the officer must be “fired immediately” because “Daunte Wright did not get due process in that situation.”

“All employees working for the city of Brooklyn Center are entitled to due process with respect to discipline. This employee will receive due process, and that’s really all I can say today,” Boganey responded. The mayor told reporters he fully supports “releasing the officer of her duties.”

According to the Star Tribune, the city’s leaders also appeared prepared to fire Gannon, who said at the press conference that he had authorized the use of tear gas and rubber bullets during protests the night before.

Wright’s death increased the tension between law enforcement and community members, sparking demonstrations in an area already under stress during the ongoing murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who killed George Floyd last year and triggered a wave of nationwide protests against racial injustice and police brutality.