In a radio interview on WCCO, the controversial head of Minnesota’s police union tells host Dave Lee that Daunte Wright could have prevented his own death after unloading on Brooklyn Center’s mayor and community activists.
Brian Peters, Executive Director of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, called the handling of Wright’s death by city officials “completely ridiculous,” defended former officer Kim Potter Thursday morning in a radio interview. Potter has been charged with second-degree manslaughter after she shot Wright during a traffic stop.
Peters, a Brooklyn Center police officer at one time, said it was Wright’s conduct that contributed to the shooting by Potter, which resulted in his death. He also called out Mayor Mike Elliot’s decision-making regarding holding Potter accountable and responding to community concerns.
“The decisions that this mayor is making is completely just nothing like I’ve ever seen,” Peters told host David Lee.
Peters accused Elliot of letting political activists control the direction of the investigation and the management of the case. He also said that Elliot, who fired city manager Curt Boganey, was using him and police chief Tim Gannon, who resigned on Tuesday, as “political pawns” to show the community, specifically angry Black residents, that he was tough.
“This is way over his head. Both Curt Bogany and Tim Gannon were political pawns in whatever game the current mayor is playing,” said Peters. “If I were the mayor, I would not allow the political activists run the show.”
Peters said he believed Elliot purposefully invited community activists to the initial press conference to stir up trouble. “If you watch that press conference, you can see the community activists ran that press conference,” he said.
After making disparaging remarks about Elliot, who is Black, and his leadership, Peters turned his attention to the shooting victim, Daunte Wright.
“This is going to be an unpopular statement… Daunte Wright, if he would have just complied, he was told was under arrest, they were arresting him on a warrant for weapons, he set off a chain of events that unfortunately led to his death,” Peters opined.
He continued with a “sorry, but not sorry” comment about the lack of public compliance that results in these deaths at the hands of police.
“I’m not excusing it, but what we’re seeing in policing these days is that non-compliance by the public.”
Peters is not the first police union leader in Minnesota to make controversially racist comments about shooting deaths at the hands of police during traffic stops.
In 2016, Bob Kroll, former president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, told WCCO that Minneapolis did not have a racial profiling problem after four police officers walked off the job during a Minnesota Lynx game.
The officers claimed to have done so in protest of players wearing “Black Lives Matter” shirts honoring Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, who were killed by police in traffic stops. Castile was killed in Minneapolis, Sterling in Baton Rouge.
Following the police shooting of Jamar Clark in Minneapolis in 2015, Kroll called Black Lives Matter a “terrorist organization.” Kroll was also head of the Minneapolis union when George Floyd was killed in 2020. Former police officer Derek Chauvin is now on trial for murder in that case.