The former police chief of Brooklyn Center is suing the city, claiming he was forced to resign after an officer shot and killed Daunte Wright.
Tim Gannon alleges in the lawsuit that he resigned after the city council moved to oust him for not immediately firing former officer Kim Potter. A motion by the council came after it held several meetings.
The defendants named in the lawsuit include the city, Reginald Edwards and Marquina Butler. Edwards is now the city manager, and Butler is a city council member.
According to the lawsuit, filed in Hennepin County District Court, Gannon claims he was forced to resign due to retaliation and discrimination. Specifically, one of the special sessions held by the city council included statements that were "false, made with malice, racially divisive, and were made with the intent to imply that [Gannon's] actions in response to the protests did not serve the City's Black community members."
Potter shot and killed Wright during a traffic stop on April 11, 2021. Wright was pulled over due to expired license plate tabs and officers discovered Wright had a warrant out for his arrest once police were able to positively identify him.
Body camera footage, released a day after Wright's death, shows Potter attempting to place Wright in handcuffs. However, he tried to get back in his car when Potter pulled out her firearm, pointed it at Wright, and shot him once. She is also heard yelling "Taser! Taser! Taser!" moments before she pulled the trigger.
She was found guilty of first- and second-degree manslaughter, later being sentenced to two years in prison.
Gannon presented the body camera footage during a news conference, saying that the shooting "appeared accidental."
He then was asked by residents and activists if he was going to fire Potter, but he told them she was entitled to her collective bargaining agreement. Later that day, the city council held an emergency meeting, giving authority to the mayor's office to fire then-city manager Curt Boganey because he would not fire Gannon, the lawsuit states.
Boganey said at the time that the discussion of firing Potter was "premature" and that "employees are entitled to due process."
According to the lawsuit, Gannon was employed by the department for 30 years prior to his resignation.
On April 12, Butler claimed that Gannon was "anti-community," and "difficult to work with at times," according to the lawsuit.
The city council then approved the motion to fire both Gannon and Potter, but the suit alleges that Edwards decided to sit on it overnight. The next morning, Gannon got wind of the rumors of what was going to happen and went to speak with Edwards. That's when Edwards allegedly told him he would give him an opportunity to resign.
"The City had already prepared a press conference for [Mayor Mike] Elliott to announce [Gannon's] termination at or around 11 a.m.," the lawsuit said.
Gannon resigned on April 13.
The former police chief seeks damages totaling more than $50,000. Besides claiming he was victim of retaliation and discrimination, he also claims that Butler defamed his character with her comments. In addition, Gannon alleges the city broke its contract and violated the data practices act and open meeting laws.
Bring Me The News reached out to attorneys for both sides, but they are not commenting on the suit at this time.
The city is already facing another lawsuit in relation to the same case.
Alayna Albrecht-Payton, the girlfriend of Daunte Wright who was sitting in the passenger seat the day he was killed, filed a lawsuit this week against Potter and Brooklyn Center. She claims she suffered physical and psychological injuries as a result of the fatal incident.