The prosecutor who had been handling the case against a former Minnesota police officer who shot black motorist Daunte Wright has reportedly quit his job, saying it had become too politicized and vitriolic to seek proper justice.
Prosecutor Imran Ali resigned from his position in the Washington County Attorney’s Office on Monday, more than a month after he was appointed to oversee the case against former Brooklyn Center officer Kimberly Potter. The resignation came just one week after Ali was successful in proving probable cause to advance the second-degree manslaughter case to trial, but he and Washington County Attorney Pete Orput had faced intense pressure to add a murder charge against Potter.
“The vitriol from some and the infusion of partisan politics by many has made my job difficult to pursue justice,” Ali said in a resignation letter published by local NBC affiliate KARE-11. “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.”
Imran Ali — noted prosecutor in Washington County — has resigned after targeted protests outside his boss’s home and pressure to enhance charges in the Kim Potter (Daunte Wright) case to murder. https://t.co/JIjxz8KviD pic.twitter.com/hFDM2XNurR
— Lou Raguse (@LouRaguse) May 24, 2021
Orput’s office had been handling the Potter case for neighboring Hennepin County under an agreement between district attorneys in the Minneapolis area to avoid having to prosecute officers for police-involved deaths in their own jurisdictions.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, a former Democrat congressman who has defended the tactics of Black Lives Matter, announced on Friday that his office was taking over the prosecution of Potter. Orput had returned the case to Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, who in turn asked Ellison to take over the prosecution, the attorney general said.
“Daunte Wright’s death was a tragedy,” Ellison said. “He should not have died on the day that he did. He should not have died the way that he did.”
Wright, 20, was fatally shot during a traffic stop on April 11. Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon, who later resigned, said he believed Potter mistakenly grabbed her gun instead of her Taser when she shot Wright. The incident set off BLM protests and riots, adding to racial tensions at a time when former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin was on trial for the killing of George Floyd last year.
BLM activists pressured Ali and Orput to charge Potter with murder. There were multiple protests held outside Orput’s home, demanding that the indictment be upgraded, but the prosecutor said he believed manslaughter was the appropriate charge.
Ellison hasn’t committed to charging Potter with murder. He said a review of the evidence is under way.
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