Jury Delivers Justice in the Shooting Death of Daunte Wright

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Today, a jury delivered justice in the shooting death of Duante Wright. The jury found former police officer Kim Potter guilty of second-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of Daunte Wright.  After being pulled over for a minor traffic infraction in Minneapolis, Wright was shot and killed by the former police. 

Although Potter seemed to show remorse for her actions, and neither side accused her of intentional homicide, a man’s life was unnecessarily ended. The defense team claims if Wright had “just” complied, he would be here today. Non-compliance without posing a threat should never be a death sentence. The following is a statement from Margaret Huang, president, and CEO of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC):  

The murder of Daunte Wright by a white officer who swore to protect and serve her community is yet another example of violent police interactions with Black citizens. After being pulled over for a minor traffic infraction in Minneapolis – just 11 miles away from where George Floyd succumbed at the knee of another officer – Daunte Wright was shot and killed by former police officer Kim Potter. 

“And while justice was served in Daunte Wright’s case, we must not forget about the countless other Black and brown people who have been shot or killed by police officers in the U.S., often without the benefit of video evidence or sympathetic juries such as those in Kim Potter’s trial. In the United States, Black men are about 2.5 times more likely to be killed by police than are white men. Due to the history of human rights violations by law enforcement who frequently use force –especially lethal force –against individuals of color, we must undertake significant reforms to stop seeing these tragedies unfold.

Our criminal and legal systems are long overdue for a transformation to root out the inherent racism that has long plagued our country. We challenge lawmakers at both the federal and state levels to hold officers accountable for police violence.

Our hearts and prayers go out to the Wright family, as this is yet another reminder of the tragedy they must endure.”

The murder of Daunte Wright by a white officer who swore to protect and serve her community is yet another example of violent police interactions with Black citizens. After being pulled over for a minor traffic infraction in Minneapolis – just 11 miles away from where George Floyd succumbed at the knee of another officer – Daunte Wright was shot and killed by former police officer Kim Potter. 

And while justice was served in Daunte Wright’s case, we must not forget about the countless other Black and Brown people who have been shot or killed by police officers in the U.S., often without the benefit of video evidence or sympathetic juries such as those in Kim Potter’s trial. In the United States, Black men are about 2.5 times more likely to be killed by police than are white men. Due to the history of human rights violations by law enforcement who frequently use force –especially lethal force– against individuals of color, we must undertake significant reforms to stop seeing these tragedies unfold.

Our criminal and legal systems are long overdue for a transformation to root out the inherent racism that has long plagued our country. We challenge lawmakers at both the federal and state levels to hold officers accountable for police violence.

Our hearts and prayers go out to the Wright family, as this is yet another reminder of the tragedy they must endure.

Potter, alongside other Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, officers, pulled Wright over for expired registration tabs and an air freshener on the rearview mirror. When officers discovered he had an outstanding warrant for a gross misdemeanor weapons charge, they tried to arrest him, according to police testimony at the trial. He resisted and attempted to re-enter his vehicle when Potter shot him. He then drove away, crashing shortly after.

Today, after nearly two weeks of testimony and about 27 hours of deliberations, a 12-member jury found Kimberly Potter guilty of both first- and second-degree manslaughter for shooting and killing the 20-year-old. She will be sentenced at 9 a.m. on Feb. 18. Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines call for seven years for first-degree manslaughter and four years for second-degree manslaughter, but prosecutors have said they would seek a longer sentence.

Opinion by Cherese Jackson (Virginia)

Source:

Southern Poverty Law Center: Margaret Huang

Photo Credits:

All Images Courtesy of Chad Davis’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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