For the past calendar year, the Black Lives Matter movement has been advocating for the rights of everyone, regardless of skin color, which was fueled by the fruitless murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor this past year. This past weekend, the racial injustice continues, as 20-year old Daunte Wright was killed during a traffic stop late Saturday night in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. The officer, Kim Potter, says that she “mistakenly pulled out her gun instead of her taser.” Hours after the shooting, protestors surrounded the police department in Brooklyn Center and clashed with police.
Wright was pulled over late Saturday night due to his vehicle tags being expired, which is a traffic violation in the state of Minnesota. When Officer Potter ran his name, it came back with an outstanding warrant for his arrest. When trying to initiate the arrest, the bodycam showed that he “tried to get back in his vehicle.” That is when Potter pulled out her gun, thinking it was a taser, and yelled, “TASER! TASER! TASER!” and she pulled the trigger, shooting and killing Wright. According to The New York Times, she immediately reacted to this by yelling an obscenity then saying “I just shot him.”
This shooting sparked protests by several in the community, who were visibly upset about the situation. The Chief of Police, Tim Gannon has ruled the shooting an accident. According to BBC, Gannon said on Monday morning that, “It is my belief the officer meant to deploy their taser but shot him with a single bullet.” Officer Potter was placed on administrative leave for her actions but has resigned from her post since then. The mayor of Brooklyn Center had to issue a curfew of 6:00 pm local time, encouraging people to “be safe, stay home.”
With the trial of former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin underway 10 miles away from Brooklyn Center, tensions are as high as they can get. This unfortunate act against an unarmed black civilian, while accidental, is yet another unfortunate reminder that injustice and racism still run strong within our country and needs to change, and the only way it can change is if we change ourselves. Many believe that change does not start with a large group, change starts within ourselves.
Since the writing of this article, now-former officer Potter has been charged with 2nd-degree manslaughter for shooting Daunte Wright.