Prosecutor on Wright’s death case resigns, citing ‘vitriol’

Published 5:27 pm Monday, May 24, 2021

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

MINNEAPOLIS — A prosecutor who was co-counsel in the case against a former suburban Minneapolis police officer charged in the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright resigned Monday, saying “vitriol” and “partisan politics” have made it hard to pursue justice.

Kim Potter

The resignation of Imran Ali, the assistant criminal division chief at the Washington County Attorney’s Office, came just days after it was announced that his office would no longer handle prosecution of Kim Potter, the former Brooklyn Center officer who fatally shot Wright, a 20-year-old Black motorist, on April 11. Potter resigned, and the city’s police chief, who has since stepped down, had said he believed Potter meant to use her Taser instead of her handgun.

Ali and Washington County Attorney Pete Orput had charged Potter with second-degree manslaughter — then faced intense pressure from activists who protested multiple times outside Orput’s home and called for murder charges to be filed. On Friday, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced that his office would be taking the case.

Email newsletter signup

“The last several weeks have been difficult for me and my family,” Ali wrote in a resignation letter dated Monday and published by KARE-11. “The vitriol from some and the infusion of partisan politics by many has made my job difficult to pursue justice.”

Ali wrote that he prays for healing and for the dissipation of partisan platforms.

“We must return to thoughtful discourse that unites, not impulsive, irrational talking points that divide,” he wrote. “Until then, there will be no justice or peace.”

Orput had said publicly that he believed manslaughter was the appropriate charge. Ellison said Friday that a review of the evidence and the charges against Potter is underway, but he did not indicate whether murder charges would be filed.

Orput’s office had been handling the Potter case under an agreement signed last year in which Minneapolis-area prosecutors said they would take each other’s cases in which someone dies after an officer uses force. Last week Orput gave the case back to Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, then Ellison took it at Freeman’s request.

Ali will be leaving the office in a month.