As Black America breathes a sigh of relief in the wake of the conviction of Derek Chauvin in the George Floyd killing, there’s hope for similar justice in the police killing case of Daunte Wright.
Wright, 20 was fatally shot on April 11 in Brooklyn Center, Minn., 10 miles from where Chauvin was killed in Minneapolis. Wright was pulled over by officers for a traffic violation, however, when his name was run in the system it was determined that he had a warrant. When officers tried to apprehend him, a struggle ensued.
Former police officer Kim Potter claims she thought she reached for her Taser but used her gun and fatally shot Wright. Potter was arrested and charged with second-degree manslaughter. She was released on $100,000. Potter faces 10 years in prison if she’s convicted. She’s due back in court on May 17.
Wright’s funeral was held on Thursday, April 22, at Shiloh Temple International Ministries in Minneapolis. The Rev. Al Sharpton delivered the eulogy. Members of Floyd’s family were also in attendance.
Speaking days before the Chauvin verdict, Wright’s mother Katie, said her life changed in an instant. She was on the phone with her son before he was killed. She and her family believe Potter should serve a life sentence.
“You can’t even put into words how we’re doing,” she said. “One day we’re sad, one day we’re angry, one day we’re mad. I’m hoping it’s going to get better, but I don’t think it’s going to. I’m never going to be able to see my son again.”
In the week since the killing Wright’s family has received help from Sharpton, Rev. Jesse Jackson and civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump. A GoFundMe page has raised nearly $1 million.
Demonstrations in Minnesota and around the nation followed Wright’s killing. This week students in Minnesota walked out of schools in mass protest.
Jackson has joined the fight for justice for Wright. He’s been participating in demonstrations in Minnesota. He wants the police department to be accountable for the killing.
“We must stop the madness of the killing. We’ve become much too violent as a nation,” he said. “No one has the right to kill anybody. Murder is murder. This sin is wrong. We will work with this family until we get some measure of justice.”
Sharpton was in Minneapolis for the Chauvin verdict and said justice for other police killing victims should be similar.
“This country must come to terms with those that feel that blue uniforms makes them above the law and blue jeans makes them subject to the law,” he said.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, whose district includes Brooklyn Center, said major police reforms are needed. She’s been critical of funding for policing rather than desperately needed social programs.
“Our community here in Brooklyn Center, and my district and our state and our country, is asking for us to take a leap of faith to say: The current policing system that we have is not doing anything to protect and serve,” Omar said. “And so what will it take for us to have a system where we are all protected? And what does it take for us to have the resources in our communities that would essentially provide the safety that we all need?”