Daunte Wright's family reaches $3.25M settlement with Minnesota city in wrongful death case

A Minnesota city has agreed to pay $3.25 million to the family of Daunte Wright, a Black man who was killed by a white police officer who said she mistook her gun for a Taser, according to attorneys representing Wright's family.

The settlement with Brooklyn Center is believed to be the third-largest civil rights wrongful death settlement of its kind in the state, the attorneys said in a statement.

"This settlement reflects historic financial accountability, particularly when the small size and limited resources of Brooklyn Center are considered," the Tuesday statement said.

The settlement will not be finalized "until agreement is also reached on substantial and meaningful non-monetary relief," according to the attorneys.

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That relief may include changes in police training and policies related to officer intervention, implicit bias, weapons confusion, de-escalation and mental health crises, they said. The University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis would provide cultural proficiency and implicit bias training for the department pro bono, the statement added.

The family's attorneys also expect to see a permanent memorial to Wright at the site of the existing memorial, which remains after Wright's family in March opposed plans to take it down.

Those plans were also briefly addressed in a statement provided to USA TODAY by lawyer Jason M. Hiveley on behalf of the city. It "agreed to non-monetary terms related to policies, procedures, training, the public safety resolution, and the Daunte Wright memorial," according to the statement.

"The City and Insurance Trust believe the early resolution of this matter will permit the family to begin the healing process and will give the City an opportunity to rebuild the relationship between its Police Department and the community," the statement says.

Daunte Wright, 20, was killed during an April 2021 traffic stop after Brooklyn Center officers pulled him over for having expired license tags and an air freshener hanging from his rearview mirror. Former Brooklyn Center officer Kim Potter was sentenced this year to two years in prison after she fatally shot Wright while yelling "Taser." Potter said she confused her handgun for her Taser.

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"There is not true justice for the Wrights because Daunte is never coming home," family attorney Jeff Storms said in a statement. "The financial component of this settlement cannot come close to compensating the family for their loss, yet the comparative cost for and commitment by the city reflects a commitment to accountability for this small community."

Family attorney Antonio M. Romanucci said the family hopes the settlement will bring about meaningful chance to policing, policies and training in Wright's name.

"Nothing can bring him back, but the family hopes his legacy is a positive one and prevents any other family from enduring the type of grief they will live with for the rest of their lives," Romanucci said in a statement.

Contact News Now Reporter Christine Fernando at cfernando@usatoday.com or follow her on Twitter at @christinetfern.