September 28, 2023

Black Lives Still Don’t Matter: The shooting death of Daunte Wright

By: Roy Douglas Malonson

I’m tired of seeing Benjamin Crump at the microphone. I’m tired of seeing him on television holding news conferences.  Not because I don’t like or respect the man, it is because I now know that when I see the civil rights attorney, it means another Black person has been killed in either a racially-motivated incident or at the hands of police. Seeing Crump is a constant reminder that a bounty is still on our heads and BLACK LIVES STILL DON’T MATTER! If it is not clear to you yet, it should be.

How in the hell is it that while, what could possibly be the trial of the decade is being held in Minnesota (the murder of Houston’s George Floyd), another police officer in the state killed an unarmed Black man.

But no matter where you are from, the eyes of the world are upon the police, yet they still have no problem gunning down a Black man or woman – for no other reason – than being Black.

This time, the picture looked slightly different, the crying mother standing next to Crump was not a Black woman, but she joined the ranks of the other ‘Black lives matter’ parents because her biracial son, Daunte Wright, had Black blood and in the eyes of the police, his life did not matter.

Katie Wright, the victim’s mother, described the last day she spoke to her 20-year-old son. He called to tell her he had been pulled over by the police, and she said she had no idea it would be the last time she would speak with him.  She wasn’t plagued, however, with the fear Black mothers typically have when they hear the words “police” and “son,” she thought everything would be OK.

“I said ‘OK, when the police officer comes back to the window, put him on the phone and I can give him all our insurance information,’” she said. “A second goes by, and I hear the police officer come back up to the window and ask Daunte to get out of the car. Daunte asked, ‘For what?’ The police officer said, ‘I’ll explain to you when you get out of the car.'”

The mother said she could hear the police and her son struggling.

“Then the police officer asked him to hang up the phone. Three or four seconds went by. I tried calling back to back to back because I didn’t know what was going on,” she said.

Still, the mother did not think her son’s life was in danger. She thought, worst case scenario, he was getting arrested.

“When I called back, the girl that he had in the car answered the phone, and it was on FaceTime. And she was crying and screaming and said that they shot him. And then she pointed the phone towards the driver’s seat and my son was laying there, unresponsive. That was the last time that I seen my son,” Katie Wright described. “That’s the last time I heard from my son. And I’ve had no explanation since then.”

So, what happened? What did police have to say?

Police in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota – where the shooting occurred — said Wright was initially pulled over for an expired tag.

Bodycam footage shows that after Daunte Wright stepped out of the car and then got back in, Officer Kim Potter said she was going to use a Taser on him.

She didn’t grab a Taser, instead she grabbed her handgun and opened fire. “Oh sh*t! I shot him!” she could be hear saying.

Potter, who is white, says it was all a mistake, but not many are buying her story.

“I cannot accept that. I lost my son. He’s never coming back,” the victim’s father, Aubrey Wright, said during an interview.  “That doesn’t even sound right. You know, this officer has been on the force for 26-plus years. I can’t accept that.”

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) even publicly questioned the mix-up of the Taser and handgun.

She also spoke about the toxicity between police and the Black community. She released a statement that read, in part.

“I am deeply horrified by yet another police killing of an unarmed black man – no more than 14 miles from where Derek Chauvin stands trial for the murder of George Floyd. Despite the worldwide protests and the increased scrutiny of policing practices, Daunte Wright, a young man who so feared for his life that he called his mother during the stop, is dead following what was just a minor traffic incident. Daunte’s mother now joins a painfully long list of women whose children have fallen victim to emboldened police officers who hide behind their badge.

“It is the unfortunate reality that driving while Black, running while Black, walking while Black, sitting in your vehicle while Black, bird watching while Black, serving in the military while Black, and quite frankly – doing anything that any other person could do, but doing it while Black, is dangerous and all too often ends in death. How many more of our sons and daughters must die for a so-called traffic violation? How many of our neighbors must die for a so-called counterfeit bill?”

So again, Crump was again in front of the cameras, standing by a family who lost a loved one due to police violence. Sadly, he was already in town for the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than 9 minutes.

Floyd’s family left the trial to meet with the Wright family outside the Minneapolis courthouse.

“They thought it was important that they give comfort to Daunte Wright’s mother and family,” said Crump, who is now representing the Wright family.

Philonise Floyd, George Floyd’s brother, said his family stands in solidarity with the Wright family.

“The world is traumatized, watching another African American man being slayed,” Philonise Floyd said. “I woke up in the morning with this on my mind. I don’t want to see another victim. It’s a time for change, and that time is now.”

But will there be change? You’re still not blind, are you? When you have one ounce of recognizable Black blood in you, many police no longer recognize you as a human being. They are locked and loaded, with weapons aimed at your heart and ready to kill. Why? Just ask the families of Eric Garner, Alton Sterling, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Philando Castile, Stephon Clark, Breonna Taylor and, of course, George Floyd. Like we told you, to them, Black lives still don’t matter!

Civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton will be delivering Daunte Wright’s eulogy at New Salem Missionary Baptist Church on Thursday. Sharpton’s organization, the National Action Network, will also cover the funeral costs.

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