The Death of Daunte Wright

The Death of Daunte Wright

Mr. Wright was killed by a police officer in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, about 10 miles from where Derek Chauvin was on trial for the murder of George Floyd.

Hundreds of protesters poured into the streets of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, on multiple nights following the April 11 fatal police shooting of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, during a traffic stop.

The shooting added to the region's frustration and anxiety, as Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, was on trial for the death of George Floyd. Mr. Chauvin was later found guilty of Mr. Floyd's murder.

What we know about what happened in Brooklyn Center is as follows.


How the shooting happened

According to Brooklyn Center Police Department Chief Tim Gannon, officers pulled Mr. Wright over on the afternoon of April 11 for a traffic violation involving expired registration tags. Officers discovered that he had an arrest warrant.

As police attempted to apprehend Mr. Wright, he stepped back into his car, sparking a brief struggle with officers, according to Chief Gannon.

One officer can be seen pointing a handgun at him and shouting "Taser" in graphic body camera footage shown to reporters the next day. According to the video, after the car pulls away, the officer yells an obscenity and tells two other officers, "I just shot him."

The car traveled several blocks before colliding with another vehicle. Mr. Wright was pronounced dead at the scene by police and medical personnel.

"I believe the officer intended to use their Taser but instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet," Chief Gannon said.

Mr. Wright died the next day from a gunshot wound to the chest, according to the Hennepin County medical examiner.

Mr. Wright's mother, Katie Wright, told reporters that her son had called her while being pulled over.

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"He said they stopped him because he had air fresheners hanging from his rearview mirror," she explained.

Ms. Wright stated that her son dropped or put down the phone, which was followed by "scuffling" and an officer telling Mr. Wright not to run. Someone then hung up, she said. When she returned her call, a woman in the car with him answered and informed her that he had been shot.


Mr. Wright's mother urged protesters to be peaceful on the day of his death, at a vigil near the shooting site.

"We want Daunte to get justice," she said. "We don't want it to be all about the violence."

Protesters chanted and threw bricks and cans at officers outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department hours later. An official reported that at least 20 businesses in a nearby mall had been broken into.

Protesters would reassemble over the next three nights, and police would occasionally fire projectiles into the crowds after declaring the protests illegal. Curfews had been imposed by authorities throughout the region.

Daunte Wright was remembered as a charismatic young man.

Mr. Wright and his son Credit... The Law of Ben Crump

Mr. Wright was remembered by family and friends for his bright smile and outgoing demeanor, as well as for being a dedicated father to a toddler, Daunte Jr., who was almost two. He was named "class clown" as a freshman at Thomas Edison High School.

According to Yusuf Abdullah, principal of Patrick Henry High School in Minneapolis, he "was just like any other kid" in 2018.

Courteney Ross, George Floyd's girlfriend and Mr. Wright's former teacher, joined his mother at a news conference outside a Minneapolis courthouse days after the shooting.


According to court records, a judge issued a warrant for Mr. Wright in early April after he failed to appear in court.

Mr. Wright's funeral was held on April 22. The eulogy was delivered by the Rev. Al Sharpton. Mr. Sharpton said, "You thought he was just some kid with an air freshener." "He was a prince, and the entire city of Minneapolis came to a halt today to honor the prince of Brooklyn Center."

The officer who shot him was apprehended and convicted of manslaughter.

Kim Potter, a 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center Police Department, was identified as the officer who shot Mr. Wright on April 12. Ms. Potter, 48, then resigned from the police force, her union said the next day, when Chief Gannon also announced his resignation.

Ms. Potter was arrested and taken into custody on the morning of April 14, according to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the state agency that investigates police killings in Minnesota. She has been charged with both first-degree and second-degree manslaughter.

On December 23, she was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to two years in prison in February.

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