Daunte Wright remembered 2 years after fatal shooting during traffic stop
Daunte Wright was remembered at a memorial Tuesday evening.
Communities United Against Police Brutality hosted an “angelversary” at 5 p.m., including a balloon release and rally, in front of the Brooklyn Center Police Department.
Wright was shot and killed by former Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter during a traffic stop in 2021. He was 20 years old.
Body camera footage of the encounter shows Potter yelling, “Taser! Taser! Taser!” before she fires her gun. Potter was later convicted on charges of first-degree manslaughter and second-degree manslaughter. She received a two-year prison sentence in February of 2022.
The shooting impacted the community and set off days of marches and demonstrations as people called for police reform.
Flowers and artwork honor the life of Daunte Wright at the corner of 63rd Avenue North and Kathrene Drive in Brooklyn Center. It marks the block where Brooklyn Center Police pulled him over in April 11, 2021.
During the traffic stop, then-officer Kimberly Potter shot and killed Wright. Body camera footage of the encounter shows Potter yelling, “Taser! Taser! Taser!” before she fires her gun. Potter was later convicted on charges of first-degree manslaughter and second-degree manslaughter. She received a two-year prison sentence in February of 2022.
“His smile was so bright,” said Katie Wright, Daunte’s mother, at the vigil. “He still shines bright. I feel him, I know he’s here with us. I see his smile every day.”
She and others who gathered to remember her son’s life criticized the length of Potter’s sentence. The former officer is expected to be released from prison on April 24.
“She’s going to be able to sit with her family and hold her sons,” said Katie Wright. “Every day I’m afraid I’m going to forget [my son’s] voice and she gets to go home to hers because the justice system failed us.”
She also called for action on a list of public safety recommendations developed by the Daunte Wright and Kobe Dimock-Heilser Community Safety and Violence Prevention Implementation Committee. The committee was formed to bring together community members and city staff to create meaningful public safety reforms.
There were two town hall meetings during the process of creating the recommendations. The Committee’s Policy workgroup, chaired by Katie Wright, presented its recommendations to the City Council in September.
“We’re asking for stuff like not being able to be pulled over for an air freshener, not being able to be pulled over for a broken tail light, not being able to be pulled over because of a loud muffler,” said Katie Wright, who criticized the City Council for not moving forward with the recommendations. “We were promised change, I was so hopeful, I was optimistic things would change.”
She added, “We’re just at a standstill.”
Toshira Garraway, leader of Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence, said at the vigil “We’re asking for simple changes so no one else will lose their life the same way Daunte Wright lost his life.”
Mayor April Graves told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS “Just because it hasn’t happened, doesn’t mean it’s not going to.”
According to Graves, the Committee’s other workgroup on Expanded Response provided additional recommendations last month. The city plans to have a town hall meeting to get public feedback on those suggestions.
Mayor Graves said she hopes to have a reading at City Council on all of the recommendations in the next three to six months.
“I think we’re in a better place than we have been in terms of relationships and moving forward with recommendations,” she said.
The Brooklyn Center Police Department announced traffic stop changes in 2021, requiring officers to give citations and then release people for misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors unless the person poses a threat or the offense involves a gun.