The Minneapolis suburb where black motorist Dante Wright was killed by an officer in April has taken its first step in a plan to change the city’s police system.
The Brooklyn Center announced Tuesday that officers have now been directed to release people who have been cited for low-level offenses and can only detain them when required by law, including felony counts. or if any causes danger to himself, to the public or to property. The policy also requires officials to try to de-escalate situations.
“Today we are taking another step forward in our collective work to redefine public safety at Brooklyn Center,” said Mayor Mike Elliott. “This step moves us closer to ensuring that there is greater equity in how we conduct public safety.”
The citation and release policy is part of a city proposal to change policing, passed nearly a month after Wright was killed by an officer who said she wanted to use her Taser instead of her handgun. . As the Star Tribune reports, the policy aims to keep people out of jail who can’t get out of jail if they are stopped for a minor traffic violation.
City council member Marquita Butler said, “Many people of color – particularly black men – are traumatized by one experience, or several, when pulled over by police.” “This policy is important and necessary to ensure that we do not have any more deaths as a result of minor traffic violations.”
The city said it would continue to work on implementing other aspects of its plan to replace the police, including a plan to use unarmed civilians to handle minor traffic violations. The proposal was among several that were criticized by law enforcement.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota applauded Tuesday’s announcement.