News

What Happened To Daunte Wright?

By: Charley Albert

“nytimes.com”

By family and friends, Duante Wright will be remembered for his contagious smile. At his funeral on April 22, which was nationally televised, his mother recounted how Daunte could naturally light up a room. In highschool, he was voted the class clown. Wright had a son who is only one year old, Daunte Jr. On April 11, Daunte Wright was just twenty years old when he was fatally shot.

Daunte was driving with his girlfriend in Minneapolis on a Sunday afternoon when he was pulled over for expired registration tags. This traffic stop took place only ten miles away from the site of Derek Chauvin’s hearing, the former policeman who killed George Floyd almost a year ago. The officers at the site soon discovered that there was a warrant out for Daunte’s arrest. 

As he was being pulled over, Wright was talking to his mother over the phone. He incorrectly explained that he was being pulled over due to the air fresheners that were covering his rear-view mirror.

Three officers were present as things began to escalate. Daunte resisted arrest and tried to retreat to his car. At this point, officer Kim Potter pulled out her gun and shouted the word “taser” three times. After this incorrect warning, Potter pulled the trigger and shot Daunte Wright.

Daunte then attempted to drive away from the scene. His girlfriend was still in the car explaining the situation to Wright’s mother. Daunte did not make it very far until he collided into another car. When found, he was pronounced dead due to the bullet wound. 

At the time of this incident, Kim Potter had been working as a cop for twenty-six years in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. The police in this area are trained to carry their guns on the side of their dominant hands, meanwhile their tasers reside on the side of their non-dominant hands. 

Porter yelled, “Holy ____! I shot him,” once she unleashed the bullet, killing Wright. This has left many convinced that this horrific event was truly an accident. They also note the amount of stress that officers are under when situations escalate. However, these factors cannot justify the fatal act that resulted in the death of Daunte Wright.

One distinction is that tasers and firearms are different colors. Tasers, or stun-guns, are more difficult to grab than an officer’s gun. At the same time, the weapons resemble one another in design. When drawing either a taser or gun, policemen are trained to avoid looking down at them. There have been only a few cases prior to the death of Daunte Wright where an officer confused their gun and taser. 

Kim Potter will be tried for manslaughter in the second degree. This charge is for people who recklessly cause another person’s death. The charge implies that the occurrence was an accident. However, in our politically charged times, many people in the nation disagree. She and Tim Gannon, the chief of police in Brooklyn Center, resigned from their positions following Daunte’s death. 

While there are still many lingering questions about Wright’s death, there are a couple matters that remain certain. It is clear that he was lost too soon. Daunte Wright’s death was a shameful tragedy.

Sources:

https://www.nytimes.com/article/daunte-wright-death-minnesota.html

https://www.kcrw.com/news/shows/press-play-with-madeleine-brand/afghanistan-biden-coronavirus-police-film/taser-firearm-gun-confuse-daunte-wright-kim-potter

https://www.kcrw.com/news/shows/press-play-with-madeleine-brand/afghanistan-biden-coronavirus-police-film/taser-firearm-gun-confuse-daunte-wright-kim-potter

https://www.npr.org/2021/04/12/986458941/police-say-accidental-discharge-of-gun-led-to-daunte-wrights-death

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