Why did Kim Potter prosecutor Imran Ali quit? Minnesota AG Keith Ellison takes over Daunte Wright shooting case
The decision to have Ellison's office prosecute Potter came as a victory for activists who had called for either Ellison or a special prosecutor to handle the case
The prosecuting attorney who was handling the Kim Potter case, a former Brooklyn Center officer who fatally shot Daunte Wright in April 2021 has resigned, saying “vitriol” and “partisan politics” have made it hard to pursue justice.
The resignation of Imran Ali, the assistant criminal division chief at the Washington County Attorney's Office, came after it was announced that his office would no longer handle prosecution of Kim Potter, the former Brooklyn Center officer, who fatally shot Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black motorist, on April 11, 2021. Potter was asked to resign, and the city’s police chief, Tim Gannon, who has also stepped down, had said he believed Potter accidentally used her handgun instead of a taser.
Ali's resignation will be effective as of June 17, 2021. In the letter, Ali noted the "vitriol" and "partisan politics" as reasons for his decision. Ali's resignation letter states: "I hereby resign from my position at the Washington County Attorney's Office effective June 17, 2021. It has been an honor to serve the citizens of Washington County for the last ten years. When you recruited me to work with you, I was honored, humbled and eager to facilitate your long-term vision goals for this office. You have done a remarkable job on transforming the culture of this office and protecting the citizens in our county along the way. I leave my position knowing that I have served with honor, dignity, and equality in the pursuit of justice. The last several weeks have been difficult for me and my family. The vitriol from some and the infusion of partisan politics by many has made my job difficult to pursue justice. 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 justice or peace."
Ali and Washington County Attorney Pete Orput had charged Potter with second-degree manslaughter. After this, Orput faced intense pressure from activists who protested outside his house, multiple times, and called for murder charges to be filed. On Friday, May 21, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced that his office would be taking over the case. Orput has previously said that manslaughter was the appropriate charge. Ellison said that a review of the evidence and the charges against Potter are underway, but he did not indicate whether murder charges would be filed.
The decision to have Ellison's office prosecute Potter came as a victory for activists who had called for either Ellison or a special prosecutor to handle the case. Ellison's office recently secured a conviction on three counts against ex Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the May 25, 2020 murder of George Floyd.
According to Ellison's office, Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank, manager of the Criminal Division of the Attorney General's Office who was also a presenting attorney in the trial of Chauvin for killing George Floyd, will supervise the case. The Hennepin County attorney's office has stated that they will also provide staff to Ellison's prosecution team. Ellison's office also stated that it is currently reviewing the evidence and charges laid against Potter, though it's unclear if that will yield other charges or raise the current count of second-degree manslaughter.