Attorneys: Daunte Wright family has a $3.25M settlement agreement with city of Brooklyn Center

A group of people stand near a podium with microphones.
The family of Daunte Wright speak during a press conference with attorney Ben Crump at the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on February 18, 2022.
Kerem Yücel for MPR News

Updated: 5:45 a.m.

Attorneys representing the family of Daunte Wright say they have a tentative settlement agreement that calls for the city of Brooklyn Center to pay $3.25 million.

According to a statement Tuesday the proposal also includes changes in policing to prevent stops like the one that preceded Wright's killing in April 2021.

He was shot once in the chest by a Brooklyn Center police officer after his car was stopped for expired tabs and an air freshener hanging from the rear view mirror.

Former officer Kimberly Potter is serving a two-year prison sentence after being convicted of manslaughter late last year.

“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” said co-counsel Antonio M. Romanucci in the statement.

People gather outside for a vigil.
A man attends a community event honoring the one-year anniversary of Daunte Wright’s death at the hands of police in Brooklyn Center on April 11, 2022.
Tim Evans for MPR News

The attorneys say the settlement hinges on the suburban city agreeing to training of police officers in weapons confusion, implicit bias, de-escalation and response to mental health crises. Some of the training could come from the University of St. Thomas, on a pro-bono basis.

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Potter is heard on video yelling “Taser” several times just before she fires her pistol.

“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.

The attorneys also seek a permanent memorial where a temporary one sits.

Brooklyn Center mayor Mike Elliott did not immediately respond to an inquiry about the settlement, or how it would be paid, although many Minnesota cities rely on an insurance trust fund established by the League of Minnesota Cities to pay significant settlements. 

The payout is one of the largest for police incidents in the state. The city of Minneapolis paid $27 million to the family of George Floyd after he was murdered by Derek Chauvin in 2020.

The city of Minneapolis previously paid out $20 million to the family of Justine Ruszczyk, after she called 911 to report a suspected assault behind her south Minneapolis home in July of 2017 and was shot to death by Mohamed Noor, one of the officers who responded to her call. 

Minneapolis is much larger than Brooklyn Center and is not limited by the resources of an insurance trust; the Ruszcyzk family settlement was about $50 per resident of Minneapolis, and the Floyd family settlement was a little over $60 per resident. The Wright settlement is more than $100 per resident of Brooklyn Center.

Correction (June 22, 2022): An earlier version of this story contained an incorrect figure for the amount of the tentative settlement.