Daunte Wright was an African-American man fatally shot by police on the afternoon of 11th April 2021. According to Chief Tim Gannon, police pulled Dante over for a traffic violation before finding out that he had an outstanding warrant for his arrest. As police tried to detain Daunte, a brief struggle ensued, and in the melee, one of the officers involved shot Daunte.
The fatal shooting of another unarmed black man has raised tensions in Minneapolis, a city already on edge as Derek Chauvin, the police officer charged for the murder of George Floyd, faces trial.
Daunte Wright’s parents called for justice following officer Kim Potter’s resignation
Daunte Wright’s parents, Aubrey and Katie Wright, appeared on Good Morning America and asserted that they ‘can’t accept’ the Force’s claim that Daunte’s death was an accident. Aubrey told anchor Robin Roberts:
“I cannot accept that I lost my son. He’s never coming back. I can’t accept that. A mistake? That doesn’t even sound right. This officer has been on the force for 26 years. I can’t accept that.”
Kim Potter, the officer who shot Daunte, was placed on administrative leave after the shooting, but she has since resigned from the force. Katie stated that she ‘would like to see justice served and [Potter] held accountable for everything she has taken from us.’
Katie insisted that he could hear the fear in Daunte’s voice as the pair talked over the phone moments before the shooting. Aubrey decried the lack of communication between the police and the family. “They haven’t given us any information at all,” he said.
Aubrey and Katie described Daunte as an amazing, loving kid with a big heart. They also thanked their supported for fighting with them to ensure that justice is served. Katie Wright added:
“He loved basketball. He had a 2-year-old son that’s not gonna be able to play basketball with him. He had sisters and brothers that he loved so much. He was an uncle, a grandson. He has a smile that would light up the room. He was amazing. He just had his whole life taken away from him. We had our hearts pulled out of our chest. He was my baby.”
Daunte’s mother Katie Wright was on the phone with Daunte moments before the shooting
Moments after Daunte Wright’s fatal shooting, his mom arrived at the scene to find his lifeless body lying on the street. Katie implored officers to give her an explanation as to what had transpired, but nobody wanted to tell her anything.
After reporters arrived, Katie told them that she was on the phone with Daunte moments before the shooting. She said that Daunte told her that he’d been pulled over for having air fresheners dangling from his rear-view mirror. Katie added:
“He said, ‘Mom, they want to know about insurance.’ I said, ‘When the police officer comes back to the window, put them on the phone and I will give them the insurance information. Then I heard the police officer come to window and say, ‘Put the phone down and get out of the car’ and Daunte said, ‘Why?’ He said, ‘We’ll explain to you when you get out of the car.’”
Daunte got out of the car, and as he struggled to get back in, one of the officers shot him. The wounded Wright managed to drive off before crashing due to the gunshot. As Katie and others tried to understand what had transpired, protests against another fatal shooting of an unarmed black man erupted.
Katie kept her head and urged the protestors not to lose sight of the reason behind the protest. “We need to make sure it’s about him and not about smashing police cars, because that’s not going to bring my son back,” Katie told an assembled crowd.
At a subsequent vigil, Katie spoke about the pain of losing her 20-year-old son. “He did not deserve this at all,” a visibly emotional Katie said. “My heart is literally broken into a thousand pieces, and I don’t know what to do or what to say. I miss him so much already and it’s only been a day. I can’t imagine what is going to happen tomorrow, the next day, and so forth.”
Daunte’s family has rejected the explanation claiming that the officer mistook a hand gun for a Tazer
Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon stated the shooting appeared to be accidental, claiming that the officer, Kim Potter, allegedly mistook her handgun for a Tazer.
Daunte’s family vehemently rejected the explanation offered by Chief Tim. “Isn’t this child’s life worth more than that of an accident?” a local pastor asked.
Dallas Wright, Daunte’s brother, described the 20-year-old as a selfless individual. “He would give you the shirt off his back,” Dallas said. He then went on to question how officer Kim Potter shot a handgun allegedly thinking that it was a Tazer. Dallas said:
“You know your left and your right – that’s simple, basic logic and y’all call it an accident. I don’t see it as an accident. I lost my little brother, someone I looked out for day and night.”
“He was my son, and I can never get that back, because of a mistake, because of an accident?” Katie lamented. The family’s lawyer Ben Crump also stated that he rejects the Chief’s explanation. He released a statement saying:
“This level of lethal force was entirely preventable and inhumane. What will it take for law enforcement to stop killing people of color? The growing number of Black men and women who have been killed or harmed by police is far too hefty a price for the equality we are seeking.”