ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 9) - The Minnesota House of Representatives approved a bill on Thursday to allow sign and release warrants in Minnesota, following the shooting of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center.
Wright was stopped by Brooklyn Center officers for expired tabs but officers attempted to arrest him after learning he had a warrant out. However, a struggle ensued as Wright tried to get in his car and drive away, during which Officer Kim Potter apparently fired her gun instead of her Taser, hitting Wright once.
"I truly believe that if bills like this one had existed before April 11 that my son would be alive today," said Katie Wright, Daunte Wright's mother, during a hearing on Thursday.
The mother of Daunte Wright gave emotional testimony to the House and Senate public safety and criminal justice reform committees as state lawmakers consider changes to policing.
"While nothing can bring my son Daunte back, I would like to see justice served. as helpless as I feel, I want to ensure that what happened to Daunte never happens again," said Katie Wright.
House Democrats passed a bill that would allow judges to issue sign and release warrants instead of arrest warrants for non-violent offenses.
"They found he had an outstanding warrant for failure to appear in a first appearance for a summons," said Rep. Jamie Long, DFL - Minneapolis. "But Mr. Wright likely never knew about this warrant because the summons had never been sent to an address which mail had already been returned."
"This bill establishes a different option for the courts and law enforcement," added Rep. Samantha Vang, DFL - Brooklyn Center. "Instead of arresting the individual, it allows courts to allow a sign and release warrant and directs officers to provide defendants with that notice and have it signed that it was given."
But the bill came with some pushback. People who are charged with assault and domestic violence will not be eligible for sign and release but Republicans say that doesn’t go far enough.
"My amendment would actually add more exceptions to this bill and this would be gross misdemeanor gun-related crimes, for example transferring a weapon illegally or purchasing a weapon for an ineligible person," said Rep. Peggy Bennett, R-White Bear Lake.
But House Dems disagreed. "We have additional safeguards that are available," one lawmaker explained. "One is that in the bill, if there is a concern for public safety with any crime, then the prosecutor can seek an arrest warrant."