Protests Continue Following the Death of Daunte Wright


Courtesy of Getty Images, Nathan Howard

Protestors marched in Portland following the death of Wright.

Lydia McFarlane, Staff Writer

On Sunday, April 11, the United States had another instance of racial injustice when unarmed Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old black man, was shot and killed in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. The shooting happened during the ongoing trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer charged with the murder of George Floyd in May of 2020. Brooklyn Center is only about 10 miles away from Minneapolis, where the trial is being held. Tensions in Minneapolis and the surrounding areas have been high for the past few weeks during the trial. 

Wright was stopped by police at a traffic stop for having an air freshener dangling in his rearview mirror, which is a traffic violation in Minnesota. Upon stopping Wright, police found that he had an outstanding warrant. When police attempted to arrest him, Wright tried to get back in his car. Following a brief skirmish, officer Kimberly Potter fired her gun, shooting Wright in the chest. Wright drove a few blocks and crashed his car. While his girlfriend was taken to the hospital following the crash with non-life-threatening injuries, Wright was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Wright was the father of an almost two-year-old son. Forty-eight-year-old Potter has been a part of the Brooklyn Center Police Department since 1995. The day following Wright’s death, Potter claimed to have accidentally shot him, mistaking her taser for her gun. Many are questioning how a trained officer could mistake a gun for a taser. Their weights are different, and they are intentionally placed on opposite sides of the police officer’s bodies. The Black Lives Matter movement put it simply, saying “There are no accidents in police terror and white supremacy. We say his name. Daunte Wright. We will continue to remain dedicated in the fight against white supremacy and state-sanctioned violence against Black people.” 

On April 14, Potter was charged with second degree manslaughter. Potter was placed on standard administrative leave before resigning from her position later in the week. In response to the pending trial and open case on Wright’s death, his family hired civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who has represented many families of Black men and women who lost their lives as a result of police brutality in the past. 

Daunte Wright did get a charge and an arrest of the officer that shot and killed him,” Crump said. “So we are making progress, and I want to encourage those protesting — those young people, those activists — that you are making a difference.” 

Unlike other cases of police brutality, Potter was arrested and charged immediately after the incident. Shortly after the incident, body cam footage from Potter was released. It shows the events as they happened and highlights words from Potter herself. She is heard saying as Wright seems to resist arrest, “I’ll tase you! I’ll tase you!” Immediately after firing into the car, she is heard saying, “I just shot him.” 

On April 13, Wright’s family joined the family of George Floyd in a press conference to express their grief. 

He had a smile that was angelic, he lit up the room, he was funny,” his mother said tearfully. “He was an amazing son. He will truly be missed by everybody.” 

Although she acknowledged and embraced the national outrage regarding her son’s death, she encouraged protestors to remain peaceful. As expected, protests broke out nationwide. The Black Lives Matter movement has another name to add to a list of Black lives lost that is seemingly endless. In Minneapolis and the surrounding areas, a curfew was put in place in an attempt to prevent violence and danger. The protests in Minneapolis on the Monday night following Wright’s death resulted in more than 40 arrests. There have been cases of looting and violence from the protests over the last few nights. However, many peaceful protestors have been met with heavily armed and ready police forces. Protestors are demanding more serious charges against Potter. They also demanded for the firing of Brooklyn Center’s police chief Tim Gannon, who resigned later in the week. 

Protestors, activists and citizens alike are calling for change as the nation deals with the aftermath of another innocent Black life lost to a minor offense. Resources to donate to Wright’s family, friends and neighborhood can be found on