Mourners attending the funeral of Daunte Wright in Minneapolis on Thursday echoed the calls for justice heard at the memorials for a tragically lengthy list of Black people who died at the hands of American law enforcement.
The services, at Shiloh Temple International Ministries, drew hundreds of people to the house of worship, many of whom did not get to stay for the proceedings due to social distancing provisions. But each of the speakers present shouted calls against police practices that result in unlawful killings and voiced support for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.
Also notable was that two-hour service took place two days after Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis policeman, was convicted of the murder of George Floyd last May. The bill, which was inspired by Floyd’s death has passed the House, but is currently stalled in the Senate.
“In the name of Daunte we’re going to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act,” said Rev. Al Sharpton, who eulogized Wright. “If you believe in justice, it’s time for the federal government to reflect the will of the people.”
RELATED: Rev. Al Sharpton, Ben Crump Speak Out Following Daunte Wright Killing, Cop Charge
Wright, 20, the father of an infant boy, was killed April 11 in a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minn., when officers stopped him for driving with expired license plate tags, according to police officials and published reports. Discovering that he also had warrants, officers attempted to arrest him, but a short struggle ensued and one of the officers, Kim Potter, pulled out her service weapon and fatally wounded him. Potter’s body cam recorded the entire incident.
Two days later, Brooklyn Center Police chief Tim Gannon said at a press conference that Potter mistook her weapon for her taser. Both Wright and Gannon soon resigned. Wright was arrested and charged with manslaughter and was released on bond.
At his funeral, attorney Ben Crump, who is representing his family, said that officers did not see Daunte Wright as someone deserving of fair treatment, but rather heavy handed policing.
“When you think about de-escalation its based on behavior, and your behavior many times is based on perspective, how you see a thing,” said Crump. “The legacy in a court of jurisprudence, will be how did Officer Potter see Daunte Wright. But more importantly how does America see our children.
“Because if she saw your child Katie [Wright] like she saw her child, then I do not think she would even reach for a taser, much less a gun.”
Another notable feature of the service was Grammy-winning jazz trumpeter Keyon Harrold, who defended his son against a woman who falsely accused him of stealing a phone at a hotel in New York during the Christmas holiday. He played a medley of inspirational songs while speed artist Ange Hillz painted a portrait of Wright, much the same as he did at Floyd’s funeral last year.
Speaking only briefly, Wright’s parents Aubrey and Katie Wright came to the podium to say a few words, but were far too emotional over the death of their son.
“I never imagined I’d be standing here, the roles should be completely reversed,” said Katie Wright. “My son should be burying me.”
Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images