Proposal bans traffic stops for minor infractions in city where cop killed Daunte Wright

The proposal would reportedly ban Brooklyn Center police from pulling over motorists solely for infractions like expired tags or cracked windshields.

People of color make up 67% of those stopped for minor traffic offenses nationwide, and just over a year and a half after the death of Daunte Wright, a Minnesota city has introduced a proposal that bans such stops.

According to The Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Community Safety and Violence Prevention Implementation Committee — which was established in response to the death of Wright in 2021, and of Kobe Dimock-Heisler in 2019 — has been working on recommendations for altering police policies. 

The committee has now recommended that police in Brooklyn Center, approximately eight miles north of Minneapolis where both men were killed, be prohibited from stopping vehicles for minor traffic infractions, which is said to do nothing more than reduce public confidence in the authorities. 

In this April 22, 2021 file photo, a mourner holds a program for the funeral services of Daunte Wright at Shiloh Temple International Ministries in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo: John Minchillo/APbe, Pool, File)

“The main thing is to keep us from experiencing any more incidents of death or harm,” committee member John Solomon told the council Tuesday during a presentation, according to The Star Tribune. “We hope you recognize the importance of this moving forward.”

Former Minnesota Police Officer Kimberly Potter fatally shot Wright, 20, on April 11, 2021, theGrio previously reported. In an incident that was recorded on her police body camera, Potter said she accidentally pulled her handgun instead of her Taser, leading to the shooting of Wright as he attempted to flee a traffic stop. She was subsequently arrested and criminally charged. In December 2021, Potter was convicted on two charges of manslaughter and given a two-year prison sentence.

According to The Star Tribune, the proposal would keep Brooklyn Center police from pulling over motorists solely for infractions that include expired tags, excessive window tinting, a noisy exhaust system or mufflers, inoperative wipers, cracked windshields or damaged, improperly used headlights, tail lights or turn signals. Patrol cars would still be able to stop drivers for dangerous activities, such as reckless driving and speeding, or if a vehicle’s equipment poses a dangerous condition.

“The sooner we get this done, the better,” faith leader Julia Gibson Reeves said about enacting the recommendations, The Star Tribune reported. “We don’t need to sit through meetings and work sessions to figure this out. Now is the time to take action and save lives.”

The committee also suggested that area police no longer be allowed to request drivers’ permission for a car search during a traffic stop unless there is reasonable suspicion and proof that the driver is connected to a crime.

“There are times when people think they can’t say no,” said Council Member April Graves, a candidate for mayor, The Star Tribune noted.

Supporting evidence during the presentation included an article from the Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice‘s October 2021 issue that revealed Black male drivers were twice as likely as others to have an officer request a search during a traffic stop.

Solomon stressed the importance of focusing on more pressing issues, The Star Tribune reported, such as violent crime.

“Excessive stops for minor equipment issues erode community trust in law enforcement,” he added.

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