Brooklyn Heart provides Mayor Elliott “authority” over the police division following the capturing of Daunte Wright

The overhaul will likely give Mayor Mike Elliott the power to fire the chief of police and law enforcement officers, a legal expert told the Washington Post.

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“At such a difficult time, this will streamline things and build a chain of command and control,” wrote Elliott after the motion was passed 3-2. Elliott, who serves on the council by law, and two other members agreed.

An hour later, Elliott announced that the Brooklyn Center had fired its city manager Curt Boganey and replaced him with the city’s assistant manager, Reggie Edwards.

“I will continue to do my best to ensure good leadership at all levels of our city government,” Elliott said in a tweet about the change.

Previously, Elliott and Boganey had publicly split over the discipline of the officer involved, who was identified as Kim Potter, a 26-year-old Brooklyn Center Police Department veteran. Authorities said Potter accidentally fired her gun at Wright while trying to use a taser.

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“All Brooklyn Center City employees are entitled to due process of discipline,” Boganey told reporters. “This employee is going to get a due process and that’s really all I can say today.”

Meanwhile, Elliott said the officer should be fired.

“Let me be very clear: my position is that we cannot afford to make mistakes that lead to the death of other people in our profession,” he said at a press conference. “So I fully support the release of the officer from their duties.”

At Brooklyn Center, the city councilor, who has administrative authority over city employees, is hired and fired by the city council. However, Monday’s council meeting was not streamed or broadcast as usual, so the results of the council’s vote on Boganey’s dismissal were not immediately clear.

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Elliott, Edwards, and District Attorney Troy Gilchrist did not respond to requests for comment.

Approximately 30,000 people live in Brooklyn Center, a town just 10 miles north of the courtroom where former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is on trial for the murder of George Floyd in May 2020. In the 24 hours after Wright’s death, pressure on local leaders quickly increased as residents – who still mourned Floyd – mourned again and called for change.

Police Chief Tim Gannon played an unedited clip of the deadly encounter for media and community members who had gathered at Brooklyn Center City Hall on Monday. One participant asked, “Why do police officers in the US keep killing young black men and young black women at a far higher rate than white people?”

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“I don’t have an answer to that question,” replied Gannon, who also said he wanted to hear from the officer before she was disciplined.

Brooklyn Center is a so-called charter city that is “incredibly far-reaching,” said David Schultz, a Minnesota legal scholar and expert on state and local law.

Monday’s unusual movements were breaking new ground in the city, he said. “We’re looking at something incredibly unique that’s going on here.”

The city’s charter – its government document – contains a provision that allows the council to transfer power over the police to the mayor in times of crisis. It says: “In times of public danger or emergency, the mayor, with the consent of the council, can take command of the police, maintain order and enforce the law.”

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“I think the purpose of the regulation is to replace the chain of command so that the mayor, not the police chief, becomes the commander [authority] for the management of the police department, ”said Schultz.

Schultz said he was not aware of any state laws that would prevent the council from delegating that power and that this appears to be a constitutional provision. This would allow Elliott to fire police officers until the city’s collective agreement with the ministry or state labor law contains provisions against such action.

Even then, the mayor could fire an officer, Schultz said, but the officer could successfully sue the city and force a settlement payment.

There is also a notable loophole in the charter clause, he said: it does not specify the duration of Elliott’s new authority and may leave it “to the mayor’s discretion.”

“We don’t have a black letter or a four-square answer to that question,” said Schultz.

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