Family of Daunte Wright reaches settlement with Brooklyn Center, Minnesota for his April 2021 death by former officer Kim Potter
The civil litigation team representing the trustee for the family of Daunte Wright announces the monetary settlement of the matter with the City of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota for his fatal shooting by a former police officer during a traffic stop for having an air freshener hanging from his car mirror. The city has agreed to pay the family $3.25 million dollars along with facilitating changes in its policies and training related to traffic stops for equipment violations that do not interfere with the safety of the driver, passenger or members of the community.
This settlement will not be finalized until agreement is also reached on substantial and meaningful non-monetary relief. The legal team anticipates that relief will include training for the city’s police department on officer intervention, implicit bias, weapons confusion, de-escalation, and mental health crises. A permanent memorial to Daunte will also be created at the site of the existing Daunte Wright Memorial. The University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis/St. Paul will provide the city’s police department with in-depth, comprehensive training on cultural proficiency and implicit bias on a pro bono basis.
We believe the financial component of $3.25 million in this settlement is the third largest civil rights wrongful death settlement of its kind in the state of Minnesota, and the largest such settlement for a city in Minnesota outside of the City of Minneapolis. This settlement reflects historic financial accountability, particularly when the small size and limited resources of Brooklyn Center are considered.
Former Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kim Potter was convicted of manslaughter for killing Daunte Wright and was sentenced to two years in prison.
“The comprehensive settlement in this tragic case will provide a meaningful measure of accountability to the family for their deep loss of a son, sibling and father, and they hope and believe the measures of change to policing, policies and training will create important improvements to the community in Daunte’s name. Nothing can bring him back, but the family hopes his legacy is a positive one and prevents any other family from enduring the type of grief they will live with for the rest of their lives,” said co-counsel Antonio M. Romanucci, Romanucci & Blandin.
There is no true justice for the Wrights because Daunte is never coming home. 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,” said co-counsel Jeff Storms, Newmark Storms Dworak.
“Nothing can explain or fill the emptiness in our lives without Daunte or our continued grief at the senseless way he died. But in his name, we will move forward, and it was important to us that his loss be used for positive change in the community, not just for a financial settlement for our family. 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. 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,” said Katie and Arbuey Wright, parents of Daunte Wright.
About Romanucci & Blandin, LLC
Romanucci & Blandin is a Chicago-based national trial practice committed to fighting for victims of negligence, abuse and wrongful death arising from police misconduct, corporate negligence, civil rights actions, medical malpractice, mass torts and class actions. Founded in 1998, the firm is widely recognized for representing plaintiffs in numerous practice areas including: workers’ compensation, pharmaceuticals, civil rights, police misconduct, excessive force, aviation, product liability and premises liability. For more information, please visit www.rblaw.net or call (312) 458-1000.
About Newmark Storms Dworak LLC
Newmark Storms Dworak LLC is one of Minnesota’s premier boutique law firms. The Minneapolis firm regularly handles high-profile civil rights, medical malpractice, and sexual abuse claims. For more information, visit www.newmarkstorms.com.