Officer who fatally shot Daunte Wright charged with second-degree manslaughter
In what is being called another senseless shooting at the hands of law enforcement, a 20-year-old black man lost his life 10 miles away from where the George Floyd murder trial is being held – after allegedly being pulled over by police for having air fresheners hanging from his rear-view mirror. Apparently, there is a law against this in Minneapolis and other states that is in place to protect drivers, however, it did not protect Daunte Wright. Instead, he lost his life and became the latest statistic pointing to an ugly narrative that Police use the worst force possible when dealing with marginalized minorities.
Training officer and 26-year police veteran Kim Potter, while training another officer, was recorded on her own body cam fatally shooting Wright during a traffic stop. Potter claimed she meant to discharge her taser instead of her revolver. Her taser, yellow with a black grip, was on the left side of her duty belt and her Glock was on the right side. The police report does not mention the air freshers, which Wright told his mother was the reason for the stop when he phoned her after being pulled over. Instead, it claims Potter was trying to arrest Wright for an alleged outstanding misdemeanor warrant and an expired tag. The day after the shooting, Potter resigned from the force, a move some say was intended to protect her pension. She was later arrested and charged with second-degree manslaughter and is being held in jail on a $100,000 bond. If convicted, Potter faces up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
When questioned, the parents of Wright were adamant that the killing of their son was not an accident. They are glad that Potter has been charged, but known this will not bring back their son.
As we continue to wonder in our community why police officers are overly aggressive when they pull black drivers over, some have said those in charge should use this incident as a teaching moment. They point to Potter as an example of how a negative interface is engrained in police officers when it comes to people of color. Potter was a veteran officer training a new officer on how to interface with black drivers and the interface was deadly. After seeing this incident, the community wonders out loud what goes into training new officers and what is occurring internally with veteran officers when it comes to retraining them to deal with people of color and how to dee-escalate a situation.
As we wait for the next breaking news story to emerge of another questionable shooting of a black person by law enforcement. Some believe this pattern will not change until there are real tangible changes occurring with policing in America.
You can continue the conversation on SPOTLIGHT’S Facebook page.