Several members of Daunte Wright‘s family spoke out on Tuesday alongside other families who gained national prominence after losing a loved one to state sanctioned violence.
“It was the worst day of my life,” Wright’s mother, Katie Wright said as she stood backed by her family.
Wright explained that she was on the phone with her son after he was stopped by Brooklyn Center police on April 11. Wright claims her son told her he was pulled over due to the air-fresheners in the rear-view mirror. As she attempted to provide her son with her insurance information, she said she heard her son exchange words with the officer leading to a scuffle. Seconds later the call ended.
The next call she received was life changing. A woman riding with Daunte told her that her son was shot and was now unresponsive.
“That was the last time I seen my son. That was the last time I heard from my son and I have no explanation,” she said through tears.
One of the most emotional moments came as Naisha Wright, Daunte’s aunt, grieved openly over her family’s loss. She said that she wanted to represent her brother Aubrey Wright, Daunte’s father, who refused to attend the press conference due to his heartbreak.
“They murdered my nephew! She killed my nephew. Every pistol, every taser, it has a safety on it,” she began.
“I watched that video like everybody else watched that video, that woman held that gun out in front of her for a long damn time,” she continued in reference to the theory that Potter mistook her taser for a gun.
“I don’t care what nobody got to say about him, he was loved! He was ours! He came from us. My brother and my sister is hurt,” she continued.
“He belonged to us!” she later said while cradling her mother who broke with emotion.
“It is unbelievable, something I could not fathom that in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a suburb 10 miles from where the Chauvin trial regarding George Floyd was taking place, that a police officer would shoot and kill another unarmed Black man,” said civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is represent the family.
Crump continued, “If ever there was a time when nobody in America should be killed by police it was during this pinnacle trial of Derek Chauvin which I believe is one of the most impactful civil rights police excessive fuse of force cases in the history of America.”
Brooklyn Center police claim that Wright was stopped over his license tags, to which Crump said was a remnant of “driving while Black.”
“We’re still in the midst of a pandemic where many people could not get the tags on their license plates renewed because the DMV, like everything in America was shut down,” said Crump.
Police were told to be sensitive for this reason Crump explained, “But I guess when you’re driving while Black, people sometimes forget memos and initiatives about,” he continued.
At the same time, Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott held a dueling press conference where he announced the resignation of Kim Potter, the officer who fired the fatal shot, and Tim Gannon the Brooklyn Center Police Chief.
“So obviously it’s been an eventful several hours for the city. We are still experiencing trauma in our community from the events that unfolded which led to the killing of Daunte Wright,” said Elliott.
“Yesterday I was able to speak to Daunte Wright’s father and express our condolences on behalf of the city.”
Elliott then went on to say that both Potter and Gannon submitted their letters of resignation on Tuesday morning after city council passed a resolution in order to “streamline the chain of command.”
“As of this morning we have received a resignation from officer Kim Potter and in addition to that we have also received a letter of resignation from the police chief,” Elliott stated.
According to Elliott, Potter submitted her resignation around 9:56 this a.m. Officer Tony Gruenig, a 19-year-veteran will serve as acting police chief.
“It’s very chaotic right now we were just informed less than an hour ago about the change in status,” Gruenig stated, when asked to explain his thoughts on the day’s events.
“We’d like some calm for the community as we try to wrap our heads around the situation,” he continued.
“People want justice, people want full accountability under the law,” Elliott said. “Daunte Wright deserves that, his family deserves that.”
It is not evident whether Potter will receive her pension and benefits since she resigned and was not terminated. Some feel both Potter and Gannon resigned because they did not want to Elliott to move forward with disciplinary action. It does not, however, absolve Potter from criminal proceedings if charges are brought forth.
According to NBC News correspondent Katy Tur, Wright’s supporters want Mayor Elliott to rescind the resignation, probably for that very reason.
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