Daunte Wright’s funeral held days after Derek Chauvin convicted of George Floyd’s murder
Two days after Minneapolis saw justice for George Floyd, this community buried another young black life.
Daunte Wright, who was shot by a police officer during a traffic stop, has been laid to rest by his family – but it was clear this was no ordinary funeral.
Among the hundreds of mourners in the packed church were civil rights leaders, politicians and other families who’d also lost loved ones at the hands of police – including the family of George Floyd.
Outside, the world’s media had been invited and the area was crawling with private armed security.
Daunte Wright’s mother gave an emotional address, saying: “The roles should be completely reversed. My son should be burying me.”
Katie Wright had been on the phone to her son when he was pulled over by police.
She claims he was stopped because he had air fresheners hanging from his mirror – police say it was an expired licence plate.
His mother could hear him scuffling with police before the line went dead. When she called back he’d been shot by police.
Civil rights leader Rev Al Sharpton gave a powerful eulogy which was scathing of the police actions.
He said: “We come today as the air fresheners for Minnesota. We’re trying to get the stench of police brutality out of the atmosphere. We’re trying to get the stench of racism out of the atmosphere.
“We’re trying to get the stench of racial profiling out of the atmosphere.
“We come to Minnesota as air fresheners because your air is too odorous for us to breathe.”
Killed almost a year apart, the deaths of Daunte Wright and George Floyd bear striking similarities for this community.
Both killed by police in circumstances that have caused protest and outrage.
Both have become focus points in the national conversation for systemic racism, police reform and accountability.
The shooting of 20-year-old Daunte reignited unrest in Minneapolis – in the backdrop of the trial of former officer Derek Chauvin who was convicted of the murder of George Floyd on Tuesday.
Police body camera footage of Daunte’s shooting was released very quickly.
It showed the young man trying to get back into his car when he was shot by a police officer who claims it was a mistake – she meant to fire her Taser instead.
Officer Kim Potter – who had served in the force for 26 years – resigned immediately and has been charged with second degree manslaughter.
The civil rights lawyer who represented the Floyd family is now representing Daunte Wright’s family too.
At the funeral, Ben Crump said: “It’s too often that traffic stops end up as deadly sentences, a death sentence.”
Minnesota’s governor called for a two-minute silence to honour Daunte Wright.
A proclamation issued by Tim Walz read: “We know that this tragedy is connected to the deep, systemic racism in our society that black people in Minnesota and across the country face every single day.”
In a sign of how seriously the White House is taking these deaths, the justice department has launched an investigation into the practices of Minneapolis police.
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