Apr 13, 2021
Officer Who Fatally Shot Duante Wright & Brooklyn Center Police Chief Resign: Mayor Elliott Press Conference Transcript
On April 13, Brooklyn Center, Minnesota Mayor Mike Elliott held a press conference in which he announced that the police officer who allegedly shot Duante Wright has resigned, along with the city’s police chief. Read the transcript here.
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Mike Elliott: (00:09)
[crosstalk 00:00:09] All right. There’s no place to set my… All right. Well, good afternoon.
Speaker 1: (00:54)
Mike Elliott: (01:07)
So obviously it’s been an eventful several hours for our city. We are still experiencing trauma in our community from the events that unfolded which led to the killing of Dante Wright. Yesterday, I was able to speak with Dante Wright’s father and express our condolences on behalf of the City.
Mike Elliott: (01:40)
I want to bring you all up to speed on a number of events that transpired yesterday, including events that transpired today. That is our commitment is to continue to be open and transparent and continue to provide information on this evolving crisis.
Mike Elliott: (02:13)
Yesterday, the City council of Brooklyn Center met in session and took a series of actions to address the current crisis. That included a vote in which the council voted to streamline the chain of command with the department and voted to, in accordance with our City Charter, have the command of the Police Department under the office of the mayor. That was the first action the council took.
Mike Elliott: (03:04)
The council then took action to relieve the City Manager of his duties. As you all know, the city manager had a responsibility and command over the Police Department until yesterday. The city council also passed a resolution yesterday in support of relieving the police chief and the officer who was involved in the shooting. As of this morning, we have received a resignation letter from Officer Kim Porter. And in addition to that, we have also received a letter of resignation from the Police Chief. All right. So with the Police Chief’s resignation we’re going to appoint two of our senior commanders to play critical leadership roles in leading the department through this crisis. Commander Tony Gruenig is going to be the Acting Chief and Commander Gary [inaudible 00:05:41] is going to assist the chief with regards to handling this current crisis. And so that is the update, these are the updates we have for you at the moment. If you have any questions, we’re happy to stand for questions.
Speaker 1: (06:03)
Speaker 2: (06:05)
I have two questions. First can you have the Acting Chief say his name and spell it and were they sworn in moments ago while we were waiting for this news conference to start? [crosstalk 00:06:24]. Step to the microphone please, thank you.
Mike Elliott: (06:24)
Yeah, please go ahead just say your name, spell your name.
Tony Gruenig: (06:25)
Tony Gruenig. T-O-N-Y-G-R-U-E-N-I-G. [crosstalk 00:06:36].
Speaker 3: (06:42)
How long have you been with the department?
Speaker 2: (06:43)
Tony Gruenig: (06:43)
Acting Police Chief, yes.
Speaker 3: (06:43)
And how long have you been with the department?
Tony Gruenig: (06:44)
Speaker 2: (06:46)
What’s on your heart, stepping into this new role?
Tony Gruenig: (06:51)
I don’t have any prepared statements. I’m just to trying to step forward and fill a leadership role right now.
Speaker 4: (06:57)
What’s on your heart? What’s on your heart?
Speaker 2: (06:58)
That’s why I said… I don’t like asking you how do you feel, so that’s what I meant.
Tony Gruenig: (07:06)
Yeah. You know, it’s very chaotic right now. I was just informed less than a half hour ago or an hour ago about the whole change in status. There’s just a lot of chaos going on right now, we’re just trying to wrap our heads around the situation, trying to create some calm. That can kind of transition into we’d like some calm them for the community, just to pause and community calming as we try and wrap our heads around the entire situation.
Speaker 5: (07:32)
Mayor, I have a question for you.
Mike Elliott: (07:34)
Let me just say, the Acting Chief here has spent a lot of time working in the community, working with the community. He’s someone who knows Brooklyn Center well, has probably, I would say more than any other person in the department has a very strong commitment to working directly with the community to help resolve issues. He’s done that throughout this career. That is why he is the right person to step forward and take on this role at the time.
Speaker 5: (08:11)
And Mayor, let me just ask you. Since Officer Potter was allowed to resign. Is she allowed to keep her pension and can she join another police department?
Mike Elliott: (08:17)
I do not have an answer to that.
Speaker 5: (08:21)
Is that something, behind you, the Police Chief knowing police protocol might be able to answer?
Mike Elliott: (08:24)
Uh. Will you be able to speak to that?
Tony Gruenig: (08:26)
No, I can’t… I don’t know the situation that occurred [crosstalk 00:08:27].
Mike Elliott: (08:27)
That’s a information we can get back to you on.
Speaker 6: (08:29)
Mayor, how does this change the situation for the department now that the officer has formally resigned? How does that change things going forward for the stated evidence?
Mike Elliott: (08:50)
What I understand is that the officer stepping down has the effect, I think, of speaking to one of the things that the community, that folks who have been out here protesting have been calling for. And that is that the officer should be relieved of her duties. And so, I’m hoping that this will help bring some calm to the community. Although, I think ultimately people want justice, they want it a full accountability under the law. And so that’s what we’re going to continue to work for. We have to make sure that justice is served. Justice is done. Dante Wright deserves that, his family deserves that. And I’m appreciative of the officer stepping down and saying that she felt that was the right thing to do. Right thing to do for the community and I couldn’t agree more.
Speaker 6: (10:08)
Did the City ask her to resign?
Mike Elliott: (10:08)
We did not ask her to resign. That was a decision she made.
Speaker 7: (10:12)
When did she make this decision and did she get wind that you were planning to terminate her before?
Mike Elliott: (10:20)
I do not know if she got wind of an impending termination or not. She, I believe, informed the City this morning at approximately 9:56 this morning.
Speaker 8: (10:43)
Mike Elliott: (10:46)
Speaker 8: (10:47)
Speaker 9: (10:49)
Mayor, what kind of message are you hoping these personnel changes send to the community, especially specifically the Police Chief?
Mike Elliott: (10:58)
Well, certainly we want to send the message to the community that we’re taking this situation very seriously. Although, things did not unfold the way we thought ultimately they should unfold, we’re hoping that we’re turning over a new leaf now. I’m confident in that. I think that we’re going to develop an approach that is community based. That is based on working with the very strong voices in our community, people who are influencers in our community, in partnering directly with the police department, partnering directly with the leadership to try at the same time provide people the opportunity to speak up and deliver their grievances to government. But to do so in a way that their anger is channeled to protesting. We want the community to know that this leadership for the department here, these are two individuals who are, and the Acting Chief in particular, they both are committed committed to engaging the community, engaging people who are out here protesting. That’s the message we want to send. We think that we can do both. We can keep the community safe and we can do that by working with the community and working with leaders.
Speaker 10: (12:34)
You’ve been listening to the mayor here of Brooklyn Center giving us an update. We want to now go back to the other news conferences happening simultaneously. This one by Benjamin Crump, the attorney for the family of Dante Wright. So let’s take you there.
Speaker 11: (12:51)
… terrified as a Black man in the custody of police.
Speaker 12: (12:54)
Speaker 11: (12:55)
Wen you just watched here in Minneapolis, George Floyd murdered at the hands of the very same police? Who was unarmed?
Speaker 12: (13:05)
Speaker 11: (13:07)
Let’s take a second to think about that. At some point we need change. At some point, we need better policing. At some point, we need officers to be held accountable, charged, and convicted.
Speaker 12: (13:21)
Mike Elliott: (13:24)
… about the flag. I’ve gotten inquiries from the ACLU of Minnesota, requests to have that flag taken down because they see it, and the community sees it, as inflammatory. And so with people coming to the department expressing their anger and seeing the flag, we don’t want the flag to be a flashpoint that angers people and does that in a way that they’re there-
Mike Elliott: (14:03)
In a way that they’re going to come to the department. And so we’ve asked the flag to be removed. Has the flag been removed?
Speaker 13: (14:13)
I’m not sure. Just give me a moment, we’ll go check it.
Mike Elliott: (14:13)
Okay. My understanding is that… Do you know? Do you know whether the blue flag has-
Speaker 14: (14:20)
No [crosstalk 00:14:21]-
Mike Elliott: (14:20)
Okay. You’re not aware. Okay.
Speaker 14: (14:22)
It’s the first I’ve heard of it. I’m sorry.
Mike Elliott: (14:23)
Okay. I do believe that the flag is no longer there, and what’s there is the American flag.
Speaker 15: (14:31)
So one of the controversies, in addition, obviously, to the killing of Daunte, was the way police responded to the peaceful protesters with tear gas and rubber bullets. Now that you’re in charge, can you ensure us that we’re not going to see a repeat of that tonight?
Mike Elliott: (14:51)
This is a very, very difficult question to answer, quite honestly. Our city council passed a resolution yesterday, I forgot to say this earlier, and that resolution… I don’t have the language in front of me right now, but that resolution spoke to what our officers are allowed to do and are not allowed to do. Can you find that resolution for me, please? Thank you. I will [crosstalk 00:15:20]-
Speaker 16: (15:20)
I just want to know one thing.
Mike Elliott: (15:21)
I will reference what the resolution says, in terms of how our officers can behave. One thing I want you all to know is that, prior to this situation, there was a regional central command set up related to the Derek Chauvin trial. And that operation has been mobilized to respond here in Brooklyn Center. There’s a regional command center that has command and jurisdiction over the State Patrol. The joint law enforcement agencies that are acting in Brooklyn Center, including the State Patrol, the National Guard, and the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Department. And so they are given orders to respond using tear gas and rubber bullets, and we have not given those orders here in Brooklyn Center. Thank you. One thing I will say is, we are committed to not using those forms and those tactics.
Mike Elliott: (16:43)
Let me just say what the language in the Brooklyn Center’s City Council resolution says, and this is a resolution limiting police crowd control tactics during protests. It says, “Whereas the City of Brooklyn Center experienced a tragic incident, which started a peaceful protest. And whereas locations can limit police tactics and brutality in response to protests, to protect civilians and maintain their rights to protest. Whereas given the violence police perpetuate against protestors, it should be even less of a priority to issue curfew enforcements. And curfew enforcements can lead to an excuse for more arrest and violence.” So we want to be careful how we’re instituting curfews against people who are protesting peacefully. It’s one thing when people are protesting peacefully, it is another, let me just be clear, if people are not protesting peacefully and they’re engaged in any kind of a use of force against law enforcement, I just want to say that there is a difference there that we recognize.
Mike Elliott: (18:13)
So the city of Brooklyn Center prohibits the use of tear gas and other chemicals. The city of Brooklyn Center bans other violent crowd control and dispersion techniques, such as the use of rubber bullets as a tool against protesters. The tactics of cattling, also known as police lines, to arrest large numbers of people. In regulating crowd control techniques, the city of Brooklyn Center bans, violent tactics, such as choke holds and implementing harsher punishments for the use of those maneuvers. The Brooklyn Center Police Department should not prevent people from videotaping them. The Brooklyn Center Police Department should not be able to cover up their badge number to avoid accountability for violence toward the protesters. Now, there are no instances that I know of where any of our officers have engaged in covering up badge numbers or trying to avoid accountability. I just want to be very clear about that, but this is the resolution that the city council passed, and these do reflect our values.
Speaker 17: (19:33)
[crosstalk 00:19:33] You said you wanted her badge, and then, you were [inaudible 00:19:37] this morning on our broadcast that you wanted Office Potter fired. Why was she allowed to resign, and why didn’t you fire her instead?
Mike Elliott: (19:46)
I just want to be clear that, in order for us to make that decision, we were going through our own processes to make sure that internally, we had all of the documentation in order to be able to do that. But the officer resigned, and so we have that resignation at this moment.
Speaker 18: (20:16)
And because she resigned, [crosstalk 00:20:18] what does this mean for her legal representation? Will she still be allowed to use the union if she is, in fact, charged?
Mike Elliott: (20:25)
I don’t know the answer to that, but that is a question that we will get back to you on.
Speaker 16: (20:31)
Chief, as a parent who lost a son in August 2000, I’m just really concerned that the acting chief here, he can’t wrap his head around that, what went on Daunte Wright. I wrap my head around it every day, so we don’t need [inaudible 00:20:49]. We need [inaudible 00:20:49]. We need him to have empathy, sympathy, and compassion, and you need to look yourself in the mirror and speak to your own core of your heart. If it was your kid, how would you feel? What would you do? And you all keep telling us over and over again that you can’t wrap your brain around it. But yet, you go home to your kids and wife every day, and I’m left void [inaudible 00:21:15].
Speaker 16: (21:15)
When Sandra Bland got killed, I could wrap my head, my heart, and everything around it. And my son was living there. I’m going to need you to do more than just wrap your mind around it. That’s what I’m going to need you to do, because see, it’s corrupt cops here in Brooklyn Park, and in the state of Minnesota. And it’s a damn state for Black, brown, and Indigenous people, but you can’t wrap your head around it. But go home and you wrap your arms around your kids every, every day. I’m going to need you to wrap your mind around it. I’m going to need you to [inaudible 00:22:00]. I’m going to need you to put your boots on the ground and act like you care about Black, brown, and Indigenous bodies.
Speaker 19: (22:07)
Speaker 16: (22:08)
Act like it’s threatening your kid. No more racial profiling. No more, just because you’re Black [crosstalk 00:22:14] brown. No more. I’m sick and I’m tired, and it’s because of people like you and you. You can look away all you want to. I’m talking to you, too. It’s people like you that cause our families, causes us to suffer.
Speaker 19: (22:33)
Speaker 16: (22:36)
Don’t know what it’s like. [crosstalk 00:22:36] You don’t know what it feel like. I’m sick of you all. If you going to need to take the trash out, but it has a way of recycling itself and coming right back. I’m tired of it. Get rid of the trash, man.
Speaker 20: (22:46)
Mike Elliott: (22:52)
[crosstalk 00:22:52] Thank you. So, as of this moment, I don’t believe any officer, right, is from the city?
Speaker 13: (23:04)
I don’t have the exact-
Mike Elliott: (23:05)
That’s right. The last time… We have 49.
Speaker 14: (23:10)
Mike Elliott: (23:12)
Yes, okay. Yeah. So we have 49 sworn officers at the moment. It could be off by maybe one or two, but yeah, as of this moment, I don’t believe any one of our officers live in Brooklyn Center. That is something that we are aware of. Up until this time, obviously, we had different leadership over the police department. We do feel very strongly that we need officers to be from the community. Obviously, not every officer can live in the city where they work. I don’t think that that would be feasible or practical, but there is a huge importance to having a significant number of your officers living in the community where they serve. Because I think it helps the department. It helps inform the culture of the department. It helps infuse knowledge of the community into policing, and I think that can only help to enhance the work of the officers. And it can only help make their jobs better or easier.
Speaker 21: (24:48)
Mayor, is it too late for you to fire her anyway, as opposed to actually accepting her resignation. Because I believe that the community called for her to be fired. You yourself said that you wanted her to be fired, and we are concerned that this is an easy way out. Right now, she can go back to the post board and get hired by another department when really she is unfit to be a police officer in the state of Minnesota, or anywhere around the nation.
Mike Elliott: (25:19)
Well, I do appreciate that. I have not accepted her resignation. And so, we’re [crosstalk 00:25:30]… I don’t know. Like I said, we’re doing our internal process to make sure that we’re being accountable to the steps that we need to take.
Speaker 21: (25:42)
[crosstalk 00:25:42] Did he say why she resigned?
Mike Elliott: (25:47)
Okay. No, and that is not something I can share at this moment.
Speaker 22: (25:55)
[crosstalk 00:25:55] Can you talk about the demographics of the police department? [crosstalk 00:25:57] Black, white?
Speaker 23: (26:04)
That document is public, her resignation. [crosstalk 00:26:04]-
Mike Elliott: (26:04)
Speaker 24: (26:12)
We run a non-profit that works with the police in Hennepin County Metro Bureau. One of the most important things is we have to keep peace, and in so doing, we have to have accountability and transparency. But one of the things, when I listened to her resignation, she did not apologize. She did not apologize at all. And that’s one of the most important things, if we want to fix the problem, we have [inaudible 00:26:35]. And she did not apologize. So, in so doing, she needs to apologize and I think she needs to be fired.
Speaker 21: (26:38)
She definitely needs to be fired, and we will call on you, Mayor, to also ask that charges be pressed. We know that the Washington County attorney is supposedly going to investigate the case, but he has ties to police unions as well. So that means calling on the governor to call on the attorney general, to bring charges against this officer, just as they did Mohamed Noor, who also claims to have accidentally shot a civilian.
Speaker 20: (27:06)
Immediately, if you want peace on the streets, we need to see justice.
Mike Elliott: (27:10)
Absolutely. This case needs to be appointed to the attorney general, and so I am calling on the governor to exercise his authority and to move this case from Washington County under the jurisdiction of the attorney general. That needs to happen.
Speaker 25: (27:37)
This looks like you want this out of your hands.
Mike Elliott: (27:40)
Speaker 25: (27:40)
Are you saying you want this out of your hands?
Mike Elliott: (27:43)
Oh, no, not necessarily. In cases like this, whenever there’s a police involved shooting or police shoot someone, the case automatically goes to, in our case, it would go to the Hennepin County prosecutor attorney, I’m sorry-
Mike Elliott: (28:03)
prosecutor attorney. I’m sorry, Hennepin County Attorney, Mike Freeman’s office, and I believe instead he’s declined. Instead it’s going to Washington County. But we understand that the sensitivities revolving around this case and the level of … I don’t want to say this. This case requires that the attorney general steps in and prosecutes this case.
Speaker 26: (28:38)
Mike Elliott: (28:40)
Speaker 26: (28:40)
How much is [inaudible 00:28:41] from the chief? Congratulations on the new deferment.
Police Chief: (28:47)
Speaker 26: (28:47)
for calling. I am speaking [inaudible 00:28:51] how focused is the [inaudible 00:28:57] in our community? [inaudible 00:29:01] is engagement.
Police Chief: (29:01)
Speaker 26: (29:11)
And then. [inaudible 00:29:11] and being able to trust the workers
Police Chief: (29:26)
Sure. So in the short term, we’re going to continue some of the practices we’ve had. The multicultural advisory committee, the JCPP, the joint community police partnership. I think some of the challenges we’ve had is with COVID. We’re not able to meet face-to-face with people and have that one-on-one dialogue and have some interaction. I think that’s where some of the, some of it is lacking with us. It’s best to sit down with someone and talk to them, and it’s easier to interact with them and relate and emulate when you have a meeting with them in person. And I think that’s some of the disconnect with, with COVID and everyone working from home, is a problem.
Police Chief: (30:05)
But I am also committed. The city has a long history of being committed to community outreach, working with the community and trying to engage with them, whether it be community meetings, with dialogue or community outreach community like Neighborhood in the Park meetings, we want to reach out to the community. We do that on a regular basis. We will continue to do that. Offering, you know, at times we offer food so we can engage with it with our citizens and kind of interact and get to know them better. So there’s a continual basis. There’s a history there, but we will continue to try and cultivate that relationship.
Speaker 27: (30:41)
A lot of that sounds outwardly focused.
Police Chief: (30:50)
I’m not prepared to answer a bunch of questions.
Police Chief: (30:54)
I’m sorry. I just, it’s very short notice.
Speaker 27: (30:55)
That’s okay. I think you got this. I mean you sound like the mayor and you sound like the mayor for a reason.It sounds to me like you were involved in engagement these types of courses, it’s going to become a priority because you’re going to see us a lot. I believe that you should be the person that knows the answer to these. And so a lot of that sounds outwardly focused and sounding so, you know, interfaceable community here, you know, bringing food there, community outreach there and that’s fine, but there are some internally focused things as well. That’s really critical for us as a community. One of the questions that I asked the chief yesterday, I’m not sure if you were there or not,
Police Chief: (31:34)
I was not.
Speaker 27: (31:36)
Was whether or not he was aware that there isn’t a pretty extensive backlog in terms of the tab, the registration tab being sent out to civilians who paid for them. And so that the backlog is two or three months. He told me he was aware of that.
Speaker 27: (31:52)
He told me that he was still okay with the officers enforcing and pulling over for tabs even in the midst of a COVID crisis. I said, you’re okay having those types of contexts, and you’re telling me, you know, that tabs on backlog two to three months. These are the types of internal policies, and there are a plethora more that you and I and others will get to sit down and talk about. But, its these types of internal policies that are literal decisions that the cheapest or something you can force them down to his officers, to his deputy chief and to the officers under him in terms of what are they enforced the practices going to look like? We believe that our brother was racially profiled. You believe that he was racially profiled in that part of the excuse that was used was the tabs.
Speaker 27: (32:39)
And so we have a major problem with that level of minor petty enforcement that can lead to such tragic, horrific consequences. My question to you is what in turn, what are you planning to do in regards to do looking and reviewing big internal policies, practices, and procedures of the department? What is your plan for inwardly looking as opposed to just outwardly looking? What is your plan with the staff that you’re have to go and have dialogue with as their new chief, as someone who has already been engaged with community outreach, what is your plan inwardly with the staff? Now,
Police Chief: (33:21)
I don’t have a plan, right? I’ll work on a plan. I can, I can talk to the community members and see where they would like to the direction that would like to go. But, I was appointed the chief an hour ago. I don’t have a comprehensive strategy to look internally, to look externally, but I understand your concerns. I can’t comment to the BCAs investigation. We want to be transparent. We want to do things that the community members would like to see us do. We want to be a part of that community. We want to work with our community members. If that means creating an engagement group to discuss with, then we can do that, but I don’t have a comprehensive plan to look internally and look externally at this moment.
Speaker 28: (34:06)
Brooklyn center had a long history and we do have a long history of racial profiling with black, young black men here. And I know you guys are aware of that. I’m going to tell you because I’m a black man that the young man was pulled over and they didn’t see his tabs. They got behind his car. I mean made eye contact, he got pulled over because he was black behind the wheel of that car. Those tabs, just entryway way into that car. Normally, it’s I smell weed in the car or you didn’t hit your blinker or your brake light doesn’t work. And when I watched that video on the screen, it reminded me of my friend, Fernando, Castiel, the white car… it reminded me of him. It was triggering.
Speaker 28: (34:49)
And so what the… what my brother Eli said, it’s what can you do going forward to make sure that this racial profile, because right now, Brooklyn center it looks like a sundown town, black people better not be driving through here after sundown. And it’s all, I’ve always been. It’s not a, because my mom [inaudible 00:35:10] I can be racially profile and killed is what I’m saying. So as the chief, I think it is imperative. If you talk to the officers, somethings don’t need to be enforce. Sorry, [inaudible 00:35:24] like not wearing a mask. Well, they could, because what happened yesterday was like saying that the, the surgeon said, “I made a mistake in putting morphine in the IV.” You know what I mean? Like, you can’t make those types of mistakes.
Speaker 28: (35:40)
But, if this kid wasn’t racially profiled, I seen police reports come out of here. That said that we made eye contact so it wasn’t a U-turn I’ve seen police reports come out of this department and we made eye contact and he looked. Shit. And so he made that U-turn. I pulled him over because of the dreadlocks. You know what I mean? He fit the description. You fit the description, I fit the description, you man, you fit the description pretty much 90% of the call to come across these radio.
Speaker 28: (36:11)
So, what I’m saying is I don’t want to fail another young man. We failed George Floyd. We failed Dante, Daunte. We failed for Philando. I don’t want to fail nobody else this summer, man, let’s pay the car first and not worse when it comes to like fixing this wrong. I’ll keep saying Brooklyn Park, pardon me. And then by the way, congratulations, I wish you would be more in tune and live in the community. But since you don’t live here, take your uniform off and walk with your kids out here, you jump in the swimming pool. Show them how to do something constructive. Electrical trades or the plumber. Show his kids something other than under the law and order around here. Stop getting racially profiled. [crosstalk 00:36:52]
Mike Elliott: (36:52)
Right. One, one at a time please. One at a time, one at a time, we’ll go with The Independent and then we’ll go with CNN. One at a time. Excuse me. Yes. Yes. Come on chief. Come on up.
Speaker 28: (37:19)
Examine the video from yesterday.
Police Chief: (37:26)
I can’t comment on any of that. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I can’t comment on any of it.
Speaker 28: (37:30)
Approaching the young man with their weapons drawn. What threat did he actually pose to anybody, sir?
Mike Elliott: (37:37)
I really do appreciate the question, but here’s the deal. It’s your job ask questions. And I know that, but he cannot answer that question because the BCA has this investigation now it’s theirs to, to look into, look at the video. They’re the investigating agency. They’re going to review the tape, review all the facts, interview everyone who was involved, and then they’re going to make their recommendations to the prosecuting attorneys. And then the attorneys are going to, you know, make their charging decision as to whether or not, you know, they’re going to make their decision as to the facts. But,
Speaker 28: (38:21)
Well, I do not understand. What threat did that man pose to anybody?
Police Chief: (38:25)
I can’t answer the question. I can’t answer hypotheticals. I’m sorry. [crosstalk 00:38:39]
Mike Elliott: (38:44)
Let me, hold on. Let me, let me clarify something. Let me clarify something. So, the, the acting chief and the commander do have to get back. They’ve got another meeting that they’ve got it. They’ve got attend to. So,
Speaker 29: (39:01)
And I have been doing work in this community for over 12 years as an organizer. I live here, I own a home here. Obviously my husband has been living 21 years here for a very long time. One question that I have, first of all, its a statement first. I do not need your police officers to get to know me [inaudible 00:39:17], I need them to do their job. The whole food thing and everything else, that means nothing. Even if I have never met them, they still need to respect me. You have asked the city council for a long time that we needed a community review board. I wanted to ask the record. If that’s something they do or if that is something that is being considered.
Mike Elliott: (39:44)
Absolutely. We’re not just going to consider it. We’re going to do it.
Speaker 29: (39:49)
Speaker 30: (39:50)
I want to say something.
Mike Elliott: (39:55)
Speaker 30: (39:55)
My name is Patrick. I lived in Brooklyn Center for over 15 years. The department of this, actually [inaudible 00:40:07],is just arrogancy. This arrogant attempt that we have been dealing with Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center police. This man has no remorse. That’s amazing. You can see on his face that he just wants to get out from here because he’s off black people. They are sacrificial lambs [inaudible 00:40:30] Yes. I would not continue to be that. Come on, stop this man from being a real police major, in this city. You’re going to have problem with us, all the time.
Speaker 29: (40:42)
You do not need to speak for the police chief all the time. He is a grown man. Yes. He can answer the question. I think stepping back at this time, he is a small man or he just summoned this position upon power or wealth. But he agreed to answer. He understood the responsibilities that came with it. The fact that he showed up in the space with you, he could have been prepared so that he could answer our questions. [crosstalk 00:41:11]
Speaker 31: (41:03)
Mr. Mayor, quick question to you. And I reiterate the need to let go of Curt Boganey and what you hope to accomplish.
Mike Elliott: (41:20)
Certainly, obviously this is a personnel matter and I’m limited in terms of what I can say about that. But what I can say is that the city manager, you know, as you all know, serves at the pleasure of the city council and is subject to the removal at the will of the city council. Mr. Boganey has provided many years of dedicated service to the city of Brooklyn Center, but the city council had significant concerns regarding how the city responded to the protest. The city council determined it was in the best interest of the city and its residents.
Mike Elliott: (42:03)
… it was in the best interest of the City and its residents to seek new leadership in the City. And we do want to thank Mr. Boganey for his service to the city. He has made strides in many areas to help make the city better. The City now looks forward to continuing this work under the newly appointed leadership of the assistant or Deputy City Manager, Dr. Reggie Edwards.
Speaker 32: (42:35)
Can we count on you to immediately and unequivocally end traffic enforcement by armed police officers and to help effectiveness of the law officers who make custodial arrests and use of force for misdemeanor offenses and instead issue citations and summons? And would you keep that policy in place until there’s a complete and transparent investigation of Dante Wright’s death that results recommendations focused on justice and accountability for his family and community and systemic racism that will reduce the risk of additional unnecessary violence, death, and tragedy for the family members of Brooklyn Center?
Speaker 33: (43:08)
That’s a fantastic question.
Mike Elliott: (43:12)
Certainly, I am predisposed to doing everything we can to reduce the opportunity for officers to use deadly force in situations where they’re not necessary. I would like to receive the full text of your request and make sure that we sit down and go through it and see how we can implement it.
Mike Elliott: (43:45)
I don’t believe that officers need to necessarily have weapons every time they’re making a traffic stop or engaged in situations that don’t necessarily call for weapons. We know that there are many other jurisdictions even around the world where that is not necessarily the case, it’s not needed. And so I am very much interested in receiving the full text of the policies that you’re recommending to us so that we can review that. Whatever we can do to make sure that our communities are kept safe, we want to do that. And then let me just ask any other questions here? [inaudible 00:44:42] Okay. Yeah. Let’s go with Kevin from the Sun Post.
Do you anticipate retaining control of the department long term or is that kind of an emergency, short term [inaudible 00:44:55].
Mike Elliott: (44:56)
Well, this is an emergency, short- term, type of situation. And so, when the emergency is over I do plan on relinquishing control over the department. [inaudible 00:45:21] Let’s go with [inaudible 00:45:22] from KARE.
Speaker 34: (45:24)
First of all, Mayor, I just wanted to appreciate the decision making that you have made. And I wanted to ask specifically how difficult it has been for you and the rest of the City Council in a time when you needed to act and hold police accountable. Can you talk to us a little bit about how difficult it was for you as a mayor, to really be a mayor, number one? And second, the fact that the police departments, and probably across the country, we have created policies to shield themselves from true accountability-
Speaker 33: (45:57)
Speaker 34: (45:58)
… when it needed to happen, including, as you mentioned earlier, how difficult it is to engage this process to fire a killer cop? What are these policies that this city have adopted historically that would not allow the City Council or the mayor to do that? Can you talk to us about it? We really appreciate your communication to the community leaders. We appreciate your response. And we truly really appreciate the City Council for immediately firing the City Manager. And today, obviously, firing the Police Chief and the officer involved. And so we really appreciate it. And for calling on the governor to take this matter outside, out of the hands of a county prosecutor that we all know will not bring any charges. And so we really appreciate it. Can you talk about the process and the policies that police departments have created to not allow accountability?
Mike Elliott: (46:51)
Well, certainly, you asked about what it’s been like within the last couple of days. It’s been very difficult for myself, for the community to deal with the pain and the agony that comes from watching a young man be killed before our eyes. And I do want to applaud and recognize the courage of the Brooklyn Center City Council [crosstalk 00:47:35] to act in a time-
Speaker 35: (47:39)
Excluding the one White man on that City Council.
Speaker 36: (47:40)
And the White woman.
Speaker 35: (47:46)
And the White woman.
Mike Elliott: (47:46)
No, I do-
Speaker 36: (47:49)
I do appreciate you and I don’t mean to cut you out. But I also want to point out the one of your city council member, Chris Lauren Anderson, who have not engaged with the community in any way, shape or form after they had time to speak with the press and made it clear that the only reason why she voted to terminate our City Manager was because she was in fear of her life, of the protestors. And actually, nobody has ever contacted her.
Speaker 35: (48:10)
Speaker 36: (48:10)
Nobody has never done anything to her. So that message is out there. So I want to know if you’re actually going to hold her accountable for that comment, because that’s not okay.
Mike Elliott: (48:21)
What I will say is that… I, last night, went out and in fact the night before, as well. But last night I went out and got a chance to talk with folks who were out there protesting. And what I saw was young people, many of home looked, all of them looked like Dante, right?
Speaker 36: (49:05)
Mm Hmm. Absolutely.
Mike Elliott: (49:09)
And I could feel their pain. I could feel their anger. I could feel their fear. And these young people were showing up to send a message. And they’re simply asking why is it that there’s a significantly higher likelihood an encounter with police in their own communities often results in their demise? In their death? In a killing? Why?
Mike Elliott: (50:08)
And from being with them, I just felt their pain and I understood that they’re not out to harm anyone. They’re in fear of their lives. So I just want to be really clear about that. I want to be clear about that. I don’t believe that protesters are showing up because they want to harm someone.
Speaker 36: (50:57)
So how do you feel knowing that your city council member feel that way, about us?
Mike Elliott: (50:57)
I have not spoken directly with this city council member. What I can tell you is that I don’t share that point of view. You know, if I get a chance to talk with the council member, we’ll share with her exactly what I just shared with you. That these young people are just afraid of being killed. And they’re just sharing their grievances. They’re not out here, they’re not posing a threat.
Speaker 36: (51:31)
May I also say as a resident that a statement like that from a city council member is the exact reason why that there is this distrust between our community, especially Black and Brown people, and City Hall. That we don’t feel safe coming into their space. Her comment is not the first time. Council member [inaudible 00:51:48] have also made some comments also in the past that actually make people feel very unsafe to engage with our city council. I just wanted it to be out there [inaudible 00:51:56]
Mike Elliott: (52:00)
We, as elected officials, have a very important role to play in how we communicate with the public. And we have to do that with care. We’re also in a position where we have the care of the entire community, people of all background. And so when we speak and when we act, we have to make sure that we are helping those who are at effect. People who are helpless, people who are harmed. And we have to do that in a way, knowing that by making sure we’re taking care of everybody in the community, we’re taking care of the whole community. We have to keep everybody in mind. Let me… Yes.
Speaker 37: (53:05)
You mentioned you have about 49 officers. How many of those are people of color and will there be plans to add more people of color to the staff?
Speaker 33: (53:14)
Speaker 37: (53:15)
Speaker 33: (53:15)
This is a very good question. I do have the answer but I don’t have it, standing in front of you here today. That is information that I have requested previously. And I know I’ve received that information. I don’t have the hard numbers, but I can tell you that we have very few people of color in our department and specifically Black, officers who are Black, we have very few.
Speaker 38: (53:52)
Yeah. Again, my name is [inaudible 00:53:54] I’m from the [inaudible 00:53:55] a non-profit organization [inaudible 00:54:02] I would like to suggest something and make a statement to you also. If you want to have [inaudible 00:54:08] We have to make sure you’re here from the beginning to the end so the community will see there’s some transparency and accountability [inaudible 00:54:31].
Speaker 38: (54:31)
And number two, is that the reason why we tell you [inaudible 00:54:39] police [inaudible 00:54:41] Black people out there to [inaudible 00:54:43] social interaction. [inaudible 00:55:00]
Mike Elliott: (55:03)
Absolutely. Absolutely. I couldn’t agree more. All right. Thank you everybody. I do have to get on to a meeting. Appreciate you all being here.