Just 10 miles from where George Floyd was murdered, Minnesota grieves another death of a Black man.
( @elleusa / Instagram )
Trigger Warning: This article contains descriptions of gun violence.
Three weeks into the Derek Chauvin trial, the Twin City police killed another Black man on Sunday, just 10 miles from where George Floyd was murdered. His name is Daunte Wright. He was 20 years old and a father to a 1-year-old boy.
His mother, Katie Wright, told Minnesota Public radio that he was driving an SUV she gave him just two weeks ago. He and his girlfriend were heading to get it washed.
How it happened
According to the Brooklyn Center Police Department, police stopped Wright for expired registration tags. But his mom said he was pulled over for having an air freshener on his rearview mirror. Minnesota prohibits objects from hanging on drivers’ rear view mirrors — The American Civil Liberties Union argued that the law is disproportionately used against Black drivers.
The Minnesota branch called it, “an excuse for making a pretextual stop, something police do all too often to target Black people." Insider explained a pretext stop is when police use a minor traffic law violation to investigate the driver. Black people are primary suspects.
According to The Stanford Open Policing Project’s nationwide analysis of traffic stops and searches, Black drivers are far more likely to be stopped by police than white drivers. And once they are pulled over, Black people are searched nearly twice as often as white drivers, even though the police find illegal drugs and contraband less.
The officers attempted to arrest Wright once they discovered a “gross misdemeanor warrant." Last June, Minneapolis police said he had carried a pistol without a permit and ran away from the police. The warrant formed because he missed a hearing on the misdemeanor gun charge.
Wright called his mother when the police stopped him on Sunday.
“Mom, I’m getting pulled over,” she said he told her. “They’re asking about insurance.” She heard officers order him to exit the car. When he asked why, officers said they would explain once he got out. Officers told him to put his phone down, and she said she heard someone tell him not to run. An officer ended her call.
Trigger Warning: Violence
When police began to handcuff Wright, he pulled away and ducked into the car. As an officer attempted to restrain him, another with a body camera ran toward the door and drew her handgun. She yelled “Taser,” three times. Then, she shot him — with a gun.
“Holy shit, I just shot him,” she said. Wright drove away for several blocks and crashed into another car.
When his girlfriend called his mom again, she told her he was shot.
End Trigger Warning
Wright joins the names of many before him: Eric Garner, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Philando Castile. This feels much the same. A Black man with a small crime, shot and lost his life.
Who was the Police who shot Wright?
The state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has begun an investigation on the identified officer who shot Daunte Wright, Kim Potter. Not only has she been on the hob for 26 years, but she is the former union president. On Tuesday, Potter resigned from the police force.
In her resignation letter, the St. Paul Pioneer Press said she wrote, “I have loved every minute of being a police officer and serving this community to the best of my ability, but I believe it is in the best interest of the community, the department, and my fellow officers if I resign immediately.”
In training, Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said the officers are taught to shout taser before they use it. He said he believes officer Potter meant to pull her taser. However, he also said guns are on the dominant side of officers, while tasers are on the other, very intentionally.
Wright’s mother advised protesters to maintain calm in the city, where tension was already tearing through as a result of the Derek Chauvin trail. President Biden reiterated the same sentiment. But the same night Wright was killed, the protests started.
Despite the curfew Minnesota Governor Time Walz imposed, hundreds streamed to the Brooklyn Center police department to protest against the death of Daunte Wright. A drum pounded. The crowd shouted his name: “Daunte Wright.”
About 90 minutes after the curfew set in, police fired gas canisters and flash-bang grenades into chanting crowds. Some protestors chucked the gas canisters back at the police. Walz said the largest police presence in Minnesota history patrols the Twin Cities.
The protests didn’t stop there. From marches across New York City’s Manhattan Bridge to vigils in Seattle, people around the nation are fighting to remember Wright’s life.
How You Can Help
Rowdy Magazine is dedicated in providing resources for its readers to help those affected by the murder of Daunte Wright. To help us add to our resource list, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
In order to help the Brooklyn Center suburb, a longtime food dessert, a GoFundMe was started to help the neighborhood’s schools and children in anticipation of business shutdowns. You can find the GoFundMe here.
The Minnesota Freedom Fund is collecting donations to pay criminal bails for protestors who can’t afford it. You can donate on their website here.
Holistic Heaux, a Minnesota aid service, is collecting support for Wright’s mother, girlfriend, and soon to be 2-year-old son, Daunte Jr. They are collecting everything from supplies to monetary donations via Venmo, Paypal and Cashapp.
Who you can speak to
Minnesota’s ACLU chapter is pleading for an independent investigation to be carried out on the death of Daunte Wright. In order to join their efforts, you ask these representatives for an independent investigation by phone or email:
Katie Delk is an Online Editor at Rowdy Magazine. Her simple pleasures include meditating, sitting beneath trees, writing poetry and blasting ’70s music. She cares immensely about the earth, powerful women and social justice. You can reach her at email@example.com more info.