The prosecutor who was initially tasked with overseeing the criminal case against former Brooklyn Center police officer Kimberly Potter in the death of Daunte Wright has resigned.
Imran Ali, who had been serving as assistant criminal division chief with the Washington County Attorney's Office, left the job abruptly Monday. In a letter to County Attorney Pete Orput, posted online by the Pioneer Press, Ali wrote he made the decision after a "difficult" few weeks for he and his family.
He cited "vitriol" and the "infusion of partisan politics" as having made it "difficult to pursue justice."
"I pray that our state heals and the extreme partisan platforms dissipate," he wrote. "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."
Ali has been with the Washington County Attorney's Office for a decade, and was named Minnesota Lawyer of the year in 2016 and 2020 for work related to sex trafficking laws in the state. But days before Ali offered his resignation, the case against Potter – charged with second-degree manslaughter in Wright's killing – was taken out of his hands.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman initially gave Washington County and Orput the case. But on Friday, Orput gave it back to Hennepin County - who then handed it off to Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, whose team handled the case against Derek Chauvin.
Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliot, Wright's family and protesters had asked for such a move, while demanding more severe charges be filed against Potter in Wright's shooting.
Activists have even taken to protesting outside Orput's home in Stillwater, as they called for the 2nd-degree manslaughter charge against Potter to be upgraded.
Orput, however, told The Daily Beast the case change had nothing to do with Ali's resignation,
“This isn’t about me giving [the Potter case] up. ... [Ali] was right there with me," he told the publication, adding he was "sick of this s**t" and "losing my best prosecutor and my best friend."
Potter's trial is tentatively scheduled to begin Dec. 6, 2021.