The family of Daunte Wright says it is not looking for “justice” after the Minnesota police officer who fatally shot the 20-year-old Black man during a traffic stop was charged in his killing — just accountability.
“The last few days everybody has asked me what we want, what do we want to see happen,” Katie Wright, Daunte's mother, said Thursday during a press conference. “Everybody keeps saying ‘justice.’ But unfortunately, there’s never going to be justice for us.
“Justice would bring our son home to us,” she continued. “Knocking on the door with his big smile. Coming in the house. Sitting down. Eating dinner with us. Going out to lunch. Playing with his 1, now almost 2-year-old son. Giving him a kiss before he walks out the door. So ‘justice’ isn't even a word to me.
“I do want accountability — 100 percent accountability,” she added. “But even then, when that happens, if that even happens, we’re still going to bury our son. We’re still never going to be able to see our baby boy that we’re never going to have again. So when people say ‘justice,’ I just shake my head.”
Naisha Wright, Daunte’s aunt, agreed.
“I want everybody to sit here and imagine you having to bury your child that somebody just murdered,” she said. “Justice? What is justice? Do we get to see Daunte smile? We don’t get to see that. Do we get to hear Daunte joke again? We don’t get to hear that.”
On Wednesday, former Brooklyn Center, Minn., Police Officer Kim Potter was arrested and charged with second-degree manslaughter in Wright’s shooting death. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
The incident happened about 10 miles away from former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin’s ongoing murder trial for the killing of George Floyd.
Wright was pulled over Sunday afternoon for an expired registration. When police ran his name, they noted he had outstanding warrants and tried to take him into custody. When Wright attempted to get back into his vehicle, Potter shot him.
In body camera footage of the incident, Potter can be heard yelling, “Taser! Taser! Taser!,” before discharging her weapon as Wright drives away. She can then be heard saying, “Oh, shit, I just shot him,” in apparent disbelief.
Potter, a 26-year veteran of the police force, later said she had meant to fire her Taser at Wright but had accidentally grabbed her gun.
At the press conference, Naisha Wright held up printed photos of both a Taser and a Glock 17, the handgun used by Potter.
“Y'all see the difference,” she said. “This is a Taser. But no, my nephew was killed with this: a Glock.”
Ben Crump, a civil rights lawyer and attorney for the Wright family, said he was at an event with the mothers of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Stephon Clark — three other Black men killed by police — when he heard the news of Potter’s arrest.
Speaking at the same Thursday press conference as Wright’s family, Crump noted that the officers who killed those other men did not face criminal charges.
“There was no accountability for the police who killed them,” Crump said. “They didn’t get a charge and an arrest. But Daunte Wright did get a charge and an arrest, so we are making progress.”
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