Shooting of Daunte Wright


Associated Press

Daunte Wright holds his son, Daunte Jr, at his first birthday party. Wright, 20, was killed during a traffic stop by a white suburban Minneapolis police officer on 11 April.

Willow Riney, Staff Writer

The chain of events that ended with yet another fatal police shooting of a Black man in Minnesota began in what has become a typical tragedy — with a traffic stop for a minor infraction. Daunte Wright, who was 20 years old, died on Sunday, April 18th, 2021 after a run-in with police in a suburb of Minneapolis. He was driving an SUV with expired license plates. He also ran afoul of a Minnesota law prohibiting motorists from hanging air fresheners and other items from their rearview mirrors. The officers approached the vehicle and then realized that Daunte had expired license plates. After that, Gannon said, that the officers discovered that a “gross misdemeanor warrant” for Wright’s arrest had been issued. As the police tried to detain Mr. Wright, he stepped back into his car, prompting a brief struggle with officers. In the body camera footage, one officer was seen pointing a handgun at him and shouting “Taser.” The officer yells an obscenity after the car pulls away and says, “I just shot him,” to two other officers, according to the video. The car traveled several blocks and struck another vehicle. The police and medical workers pronounced Mr. Wright dead at the scene. “It is my belief that the officer had the intention to deploy their taser but instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet,” Chief Gannon said. There are no excuses for the actions of that police officer who “mistook” a handgun for a taser. On the following Monday, officials identified the police officer who shot Mr.Wright as Kim Potter, a 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center Police Department. Ms. Potter, who was 48 years old, then resigned from the police, her union said in a statement on Tuesday. Chief Gannon also announced his resignation on Tuesday. Ms. Potter had been arrested and taken into custody on Wednesday morning; she faces a charge of second-degree manslaughter.

Black Lives Matter has been a social justice movement for years, but in the particular years of 2020 and 2021, the movement has become more evident that black people need change. After the death of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, and countless others, there have been many protests to express justice and power for black people. George Floyd was a man who died because of police brutality. George’s death caused a nationwide spark throughout the world for social justice. His final autopsy findings, issued June 1, found that Floyd’s heart stopped while he was being restrained and that his death was a homicide caused by “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression.” Dr. Andrew Baker, the chief medical examiner for Hennepin County, told jurors that the “top-line” direct cause of Floyd’s death remained unchanged today: Floyd’s heart and lungs stopped beating as a result of being subdued, restrained, and having his neck compressed by police officers during their encounter. In the days since a jury in Minneapolis convicted former police officer Derek Chauvin on two counts of murder and one count of manslaughter in the death of George Floyd, many police officers and law enforcement organizations around the U.S. have expressed relief at the trial’s outcome.

The world has taken a turn in the past couple of years with COVID, the 2020 presidential candidacy, and social injustice worldwide. All we can do is be the best version of ourselves by standing up for something wrong and helping others through difficult times. Daunte Wright was only 20 years old, he died too young, he didn’t get to live a full life, and he left his daughter too soon. Let us not let another “mistake” happen with the police; we must come together and find a common ground of safety and security for all, no matter your color, sex, age, race, or religion. Alexis Allen (10) believes change happens gradually: “Of course starting with little things, George Floyd’s killer being held accountable is a big step. Then work our way up the stem, with court systems becoming more justice. Fix kids & police systems. Start from the bottom & work out a way to the top. It has been helpful since Biden’s administration is the most diverse cabinet in history.”