Minnesota prosecutor in Daunte Wright case quits amid 'vitriol,' 'partisan politics' after AG Ellison takeover

Leo Terrell: ‘Not a single shred of evidence’ shooting of Daunte Wright was racially motivated

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A local prosecutor in Minnesota who was handling the case of the former Brooklyn Center police officer, Kim Potter, charged in the deadly shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright during a traffic stop, has resigned, citing “vitriol” and “partisan politics” that have made his “job difficult to pursue justice.” 

Imran Ali, who’s worked for the past 10 years at the Washington County Attorney’s Office, where he most recently was serving as the assistance criminal division chief, submitted a short resignation letter on Monday. His resignation will take effect on June 17, KSTP reported. 

“The last several weeks have been difficult for my family,” Ali said in the letter addressed to his boss, Washington County Attorney Pete Orput. “The vitriol from some and the infusion of partisan politics by many has made my job difficult to pursue justice. I pray that our state heals and the extreme partisan platforms dissipate. We must return to thoughtful discourse that unites, not impulsive, irrational talking points that divide. Until then, there will be no peace, and no justice.”

Though the letter does not cite Wright’s death, it comes just days after Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced Friday that he’s taking over Potter’s prosecution. Ellison said his office would also review the charging decision for Potter, who faces a single count of second-degree manslaughter.

Just four days after Wright was fatally shot on April 11 during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, located in Hennepin County outside of Minneapolis, Orput announced the second-degree manslaughter charge against Potter. Orput’s office first handled prosecution after Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman handed over the case as part of a metropolitan area agreement regarding officer-involved shootings. 

Wright’s death sparked several nights of demonstrations in the area amid already heightened security measures put in place during the trial for former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was later convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020. 

Before the charging decision was announced for Potter, Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said he was going against the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension’s advice in deciding to release body-camera footage of the shooting. In playing out the video at a press conference, he remarked that it appeared Potter had intended to grab her Taser, but grabbed her handgun by mistake. 

Potter can be heard yelling “Taser” repeatedly in the video before a single shot was fired. Both Gannon and Potter resigned after the press conference. Brooklyn Center City Manager Curt Boganey was fired by City Council after suggesting Potter be afforded due process, and Mayor Mike Elliott’s office then assumed command authority over the police department. 

Activists quickly argued for Ellison to take over the case and for the charges to be upgraded to murder. 

There have been protests outside Orput’s home in Stillwater, Minnesota, KARE reported. 

Asked about Ali’s resignation, Orput told KARE simply, “I’m losing my best prosecutor and one of my dearest friends. I’m saddened, but I’m also excited for him.” In a separate comment to the Daily Beast, Orput stressed that Ali’s resignation was not related to Potter’s case. 

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