Minneapolis, Minnesota, Apr 22 (EFE).- Hundreds of people gathered on Thursday at a local church to bid their last farewell to Daunte Wright, who died a week-and-a-half ago when a police officer shot him once in the chest at a traffic stop in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center.
“Daunte Wright’s life mattered,” attorney Ben Crump said, asking those on hand to repeat the phrase a number of times during the service. “We have to fight for our children … because our children need to know how much we believe in them, how much we believe in their future. Because they do have a right to life and liberty and their American dream, and that is the plea for justice.”
The Rev. DeVes Toon, speaking at the funeral, said that “much remains to be done” in terms of improving police relations with minority communities although the “God of Justice” had been seen earlier this week, an allusion to the guilty verdict handed down in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for murdering African American George Floyd in May 2020.
Toon lamented that Wright, 20, died so young and asked God to provide justice in this case, as many believe was done in the Floyd murder case with Chauvin being convicted of killing Floyd by kneeling on his neck for more than nine minutes after he was subdued and handcuffed.
With the church completely filled, the choir sang in between eulogies and remarks from the pulpit by various speakers, including civil rights activist for former presidential candidate Rev. Al Sharpton.
In addition to Wright’s relatives and friends, also attending the service was Floyd’s family and several politicians, including Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.
Wright died on April 11 when Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter – according to the official version – mistakenly drew her sidearm instead of her Taser, with which she intended to immobilize Wright, who was struggling with and trying to escape officers attempting to arrest him during a traffic stop.
After the incident, local authorities released a police body camera video showing the incident in which three officers can be seen approaching Wright’s vehicle and, when one of them tried to handcuff Wright, he resisted and tried to flee.
At that point, Potter drew her pistol – thinking it was her Taser, she said later – and shouted “Taser! Taser! Taser!” to warn the other officers that she intended to deliver a powerful electric shock to Wright to subdue him. However, she shot him once in the chest instead and immediately afterward is heard exclaiming in surprise: “I shot him…”
Police said that they had stopped Wright’s vehicle because its tags were expired, asked him for identification and, in checking his driver’s license, discovered that there was an outstanding arrest warrant for him, whereupon they tried to detain him.
At that point, as seen on the bodycam video, he tried to get back into the driver seat of his car and Potter shot him once, after which he drove away but crashed the vehicle a short distance away and died.
The incident has revived tensions in Minneapolis, where the community was already on tenterhooks over the Chauvin trial. The Floyd killing last spring sparked historic protests nationwide and in places around the world against police brutality and racism.
Potter, a 26-year veteran police officer who resigned from the Brooklyn Center police force after the incident, has been charged with manslaughter and is scheduled to make her next court appearance on May 17.