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Warrant for Death? | Maxine Mah

Just yesterday, on April 12, 2021, Daunte Wright, a 20-year old African-American man, was shot and killed in a suburb in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

According to the Brooklyn Center Police Station, Wright, who was unarmed, was pulled over for an expired registration on his license plate and was then found to have a warrant for arrest. While Wright struggled against the officer trying to detain him, he went back into his car, which is when the officer shot him. The officer then said aloud, “Oh sh*t, I just shot him” after realizing they pulled out their gun, and not their taser like they meant to. The car ended up crashing into another vehicle while Wright’s girlfriend was still inside — no one got hurt in the crash. Daunte Wright’s dead body was then left on the street for six hours after the shooting.

His mother, Katie Wright, says that Daunte called her while getting pulled over. Wright’s mother had just gifted him the car two weeks prior, and asked to talk to the officer in order to give the correct insurance details. As Wright was told to exit his vehicle, the call ended and the next call Katie Wright received was about the shooting of her son.

Citizens of Minneapolis were enraged with this event. Protests arose all around the area, so much so that there had to be a state mandated curfew and an immediate investigation into the case. Hundreds of people surrounded the Brooklyn Police Center chanting “Daunte Wright,” as police officers used rubber bullets and threw tear gas and stun grenades into crowds.

While some sources say that Wright was pulled over for having an air-freshener on his rear-view mirror — which is considered illegal in Minnesota — the message is still the same: how many more times are we going to have to watch innocent BIPOC die at the hands of the only people who are meant to protect them? The officer, who’s name has not yet been released, allegedly meant to pull out a taser to detain Wright, but instead they pulled out their gun. Racially motivated or not, police officers are meant to be professional law enforcers. Mistaking a gun for a taser and taking someone’s life is not just a simple fix that happens every so often — it is the loss of a human being. How can our law enforcement systems be so poorly trained that in these situations they “accidentally” kill someone? Further, while Wright was being handled for having an arrest warrant, it does not mean that the officer had any excuse to reach for their gun. A warrant for arrest does not mean death.

Not only does the murder of Daunte Wright spark talk of reforming the law enforcement system in the Minneapolis area, but the George Floyd hearings are also currently taking place not even ten miles away from the scene of Wright’s death. George Floyd, another unarmed African-American man, was killed by police officer Derek Chauvin by way of strangulation. After a cardiologist testified in court that Floyd’s death was easily preventable, it has become immensely clear how much we need police reformation in this country. The killing of innocent people cannot just be regarded as a mistake; these are real lives on the line. The deaths of so many African Americans — George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Treyvon Martin, Tamir Rice, and now Daunte Wright — did not have to happen if it wasn’t for the policing system in America. Our officers need to be better trained, have better background checks, and most of all, need to see past race and skin color, in order to fairly uphold the law. Without change, who knows how many more POC lives will be taken for unjust reasons.

Below is a list of resources you can use to help support POC lives and inclusion in Minnesota:

Center for Economic Inclusion

Voices for Racial Justice

Reclaim the Block

ACLU

Ujamaa Place

EdAllies

Black Lives Matter

GoFund me for Dauntes funeral costs

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