Emily’s Weekly Political Scoop: The Murder of Daunte Wright


Emily Landolfi, Staff Writer

As Derek Chaivin’s trial over the killing of Geroge Floyd continues, Daunte Wright, a 20-year old Black man, was killed by a police officer at a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota on Sunday. As new information unfolds, protests have sparked throughout Minnesota and around the US.


The New York Times reported that the Chief Tim Gannon of the Brooklyn Center police stated that Mr. Wright had expired registration tags, causing the police officers, Kim Potter and two other officers, to pull him over. They then found out he had a warrant for his arrest and tried to detain him. However, Mr. Wright stepped back into his car, causing a bit of struggle with the officers, and was shot by Ms. Potter (The New York Times). BBC further states that Mr. Ganon claimed that she meant to use her taser, as she yelled “taser, taster, taser” in the footage found via the body camera, but instead deployed her gun, shooting him in the chest with a singular bullet and causing her to say “Holy s**t, I just shot him” (“Minneapolis: Daunte Wright Shooting by Police ‘Accidental’.”). Mr. Wright was able to drive a few blocks before hitting another vehicle and dying at the scene. As he was being pulled over, he called his mother, Katie Wright, and she said that he told her he got pulled over for air fresheners hanging from his rearview mirror. As the call continued, she heard “scuffling” and then someone hung up. When she called again, a woman, later identified as his girlfriend, answered and told her that Mr. Wright was shot (The New York Times). 


On Tuesday, NPR reported that Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliot announced the resignation of Kim Potter and Mr. Gannon, giving Mr. Elliot “command authority” and appointing 19-year-old Tony Gruenig as active police chief. Ms. Potter has served as president of the local police union, training other officers. As pressure built up for her to be fired, she resigned. Mr. Elliot also called Governor Tim Waltz to transfer criminal prosecution to the state attorney general’s office rather than a county prosecutor because of the cases’s sensitivity (Sullivan).


NPR further reported in another article that the Daunte family had their first public conference, expressing their sadness, grief, and anger, urging those responsible to be held accountable. Mrs. Wright, while breaking into tears, said, “I never imagined this was what was going to happen. That was the last time I’ve heard from my son. And I’ve had no explanation since then.” The family’s attorney, Benjamin Crump, said, “They could have given him a ticket for that. But when it’s Black people in America, they engage in the most use of force, and it ends up with deadly consequences.” Many family members of George Floyd, killed 12 miles away from Mr. Wright’s death, joined Mr. Wright’s family at the conference, standing under the snow outside the Hennepin County Courthouse as Derek Chauvin’s trial continued (Sullivian).


Protests began to spark throughout the country on Monday night, demanding justice. NPR states that hundreds of people stood outside for a memorial protest at the police department in Brooklyn Center, regardless of the 7 p.m. curfew. Police officers showed up with riot gear and nightsticks, declaring there was an unlawful assembly at night. The officers escalated to flash-bang grenades, tear gas, and foam rounds to get rid of the crowds. There was damage and looting at a strip mall across the street from the station, and around 40 people were arrested, many cited with curfew violations. The beginning protest in Minnesota caused people across the nation to demonstrate their anger, grief, and sadness for the death of Daunte Wright in multiple ways whether that be protests or candle lightings in remembrance (Sullivan). 


Whether you have or haven’t seen Daunte Wright’s death on the news or social media, I hope you have been able to learn what happened and the result of this injustice. 

Works Cited

“Minneapolis: Daunte Wright Shooting by Police ‘Accidental’.” BBC News, BBC, 12 Apr. 2021, www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-56724798. 

The New York Times. “What to Know About the Police Shooting of Daunte Wright.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 12 Apr. 2021, www.nytimes.com/article/daunte-wright-death-minnesota.html. 

Sullivan, Becky. “Brooklyn Center Police Chief And Officer Who Shot Daunte Wright Resign.” NPR, NPR, 13 Apr. 2021, www.npr.org/2021/04/13/986866106/brooklyn-center-police-chief-and-officer-who-shot-daunte-wright-resign. 

Sullivan, Becky. “’I Never Imagined This’: Daunte Wright’s Family Calls For Accountability.” NPR, NPR, 13 Apr. 2021, www.npr.org/sections/trial-over-killing-of-george-floyd/2021/04/13/986960763/i-never-imagined-this-daunte-wrights-family-calls-for-accountability. 

Sullivan, Becky. “Protests Grow In Minnesota And Around U.S. Over Death of Daunte Wright.” NPR, NPR, 13 Apr. 2021, www.npr.org/2021/04/13/986764183/protests-grow-in-minnesota-and-around-u-s-over-death-of-daunte-wright.