The Death of Daunte Wright

Sunday, April 11, 2021, another black man was murdered by a white police officer in Minnesota. Hundreds of protesters covered the streets of Brooklyn Center on Sunday and Monday night to express their frustration about the murder of Daunte Wright. This shooting comes less than one year after the well-known case of George Floyd, which occurred just 11 miles from Wright.

According to Chief Tim Gannon of the Brooklyn Center Police Department, 20-year old Daunte Wright was pulled over for having expired registration tags, and there was a “gross misdemeanor warrant” out for his arrest. As the officers tried to detain Mr. Wright, he got back into his vehicle, causing a brief struggle with officers. As shown in released body camera footage, Officer Kim Potter pointed a handgun at Wright while yelling “taser.” As Wright’s vehicle pulls away, the video records the officer says “I just shot him” to two other officers. After the car traveled several blocks and struck another vehicle, Wright was pronounced dead on the scene by the officers and medical workers. 

Katie Wright, Mr. Wright’s mother, explained to reporters that her son called her while being pulled over. “He said they pulled him over because he had air fresheners hanging from his rearview mirror,” said Ms. Wright. According to nytimes.com, Ms. Wright noticed after he made that statement, her son dropped or put the phone down. She then heard “scuffling” and an officer telling her son not to run. Ms. Wright proceeded to explain how someone hung up, and when she called back, a woman who was in the car with Mr. Wright answered the phone and told her that her son had been shot.

This week, Kim Potter, a 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center Police, was fired along with Tim Gannon, the chief of police. Potter has been charged with second-degree manslaughter, and has since been released on bond.

“It was my belief that the officer had the intention to deploy their taser instead, but instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet,” Chief Gannon said. He believes Mr. Wright’s death was a mistake, but many people disagree. Kim Potter is expected to return to court on May 17th.

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