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Brooklyn Center Mayor Addresses Delay In Promised Police Reforms: 'It Definitely Rests On Me'

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The city of Brooklyn Center promised police reform after a former officer shot and killed Daunte Wright.

Three months later, almost nothing has changed.

Wright died during a traffic stop in April. Another man, 21-year-old Kobe Heisler, was killed by a Brooklyn Center officer in 2019.

In May, the city passed a resolution in their names that called for a public safety overhaul.

"I just got goosebumps thinking about that moment [it passed]," said Amity Dimock, Heisler's mother.

An immediate change was to be a citations and summons policy for police that includes non-moving traffic infractions. That would mean no arrests or searches for non-felony offenses.

Mayor Mike Elliott says the policy has yet to go into effect. He expects it to in the next few weeks. When asked what's taken so long, Elliott said city staff have been working to figure out the details of the policy.

The Brooklyn Center Police Department manual does already include a cite and release policy that applies to petty misdemeanors not involving the operation or registration of vehicles.

Other reforms in the resolution were for the long term, including having civilians enforce non-moving traffic violations and dispatching trained, unarmed responders to mental health calls.

Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott
Mayor Mike Elliott (credit: CBS)

A committee was supposed to be formed to help implement those changes. So far, no such committee exists.

"It definitely rests on me," Elliott said. "We need to work faster to get these policies in place."

Dimock and Katie Wright, Daunte's mother, both want these public safety changes so other families don't have to suffer like theirs have. The longer it's delayed though, the more they fear the resolution's reforms will get watered down, or worse, won't happen at all.

"It's almost like it was brought up just to appease us and now that it isn't being implemented, it's just being swept under the rug like everything else unfortunately," Wright said.

Elliott shares the mothers' concerns about the slow progress. He says his goal is full implementation of the resolution by next April, but that's dependent, he says, on the city council approving the necessary funding.

One change Elliott points out since the resolution passed is that the fire department now responds to medical calls instead of police, but police department officials say that's not true. A commander told WCCO both police and fire are responding to medical calls, which has been the practice for "as long as he can remember."

Applications to be on the implementation committee are open. The city's also hiring other support positions to help with the process.

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