Louis, Williams condemn police killing of Daunte Wright

Daunte Wright's mother, Katie, eulogizes her son at his vigil, Monday, April 12, 2021, as the community responded to the police killing of 20-year-old Wright, with hundreds joining his family at the location on 63 Ave. N. in Brooklyn Center, Minn., where he was killed.
Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune via Associated Press

Brooklyn Council Member Farah Louis and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams on Tuesday condemned the police killing of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, saying that no logic or apology could ever excuse the fatal shooting of yet another Black man in Minnesota.

“The egregious mistake of yelling taser while firing a gun cost 20-year-old Daunte Wright his life,” said Louis, the daughter of Haitian immigrants, who represents the 45th Council District in Brooklyn, in expressing outrage.

“Our community has been compounded with the trauma inflicted by police-involved shootings occurring on an all-too-frequent basis,” Louis, vice co-chair of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus in the City Council, told Caribbean Life. “The dark color of our skin is perceived as a threat regardless of who we are, where we are, what we have accomplished, or how we comply with commands from an officer.

“With every loss, we learn the parameters of our so-called liberties, rights, but also the inequities within the criminal justice system,” she continued. “Despite the video footage and police training, we find ourselves in a perpetual cycle of violence unable to grieve our brothers and sisters gone too soon.

“Although we are forced to live in fear, we will persist with peaceful protests calling for police accountability because Black lives matter – period,” Louis said.

Williams, the son of Grenadian immigrants, also told Caribbean Life: “From the borough of Brooklyn to Brooklyn Center in Minneapolis, we lift up our brother Daunte Wright. Black and Brown communities all across this country are sandwiched.

Evelyn Jarbah (in blue) hugs Patience Chowoe during a protest outside Brooklyn Center Police Department, a day after Daunte Wright was shot and killed by a police officer, in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, U.S. April 12, 2021.   REUTERS/Leah Millis

“They are sandwiched by gun violence on the street on one side, and over-policing and police violence on the other,” he said. “They are stuck in the middle of that screaming and yelling for help and resources.

“But they are just sent more police, and this tragedy is the horrible, predictable, unacceptable result,” Williams added.

Officer Kimberly A. Potter was in the midst of a routine training day on Sunday, demonstrating her decades of policing know-how to less experienced officers in the Brooklyn Center Police Department, according to the New York Times.

“But that training came to an abrupt and horrifying end when Officer Potter, who is white, shot Daunte Wright, a Black 20-year-old man, in his car as he tried to avoid arrest,” it said.

“Body camera video shows that the officer shouted ‘Taser!’ while pointing a handgun at Mr. Wright, who was unarmed; she then fired a single round into his chest, killing him, in what the authorities in Minnesota have described as a deadly mistake,” it added.

With protests escalating each night in Brooklyn Center, the Times reported that Officer Potter, a veteran officer of 26 years, and Tim Gannon, the department’s police chief, both resigned their posts on Tuesday.

The abrupt departures came a day after the city manager who oversaw the department was fired, and as the city of 30,000 residents remained boarded up, the Times said.

It said National Guard troops stood with guns outside of the city’s police station, which has been the center of nightly clashes.

In her resignation letter dispatched to city officials on Tuesday, Officer Potter said she had “loved every minute of being a police officer and serving this community to the best of my ability, but I believe it is in the best interest of the community, the department and my fellow officers if I resign immediately.”

At a press conference announcing the departures, Mayor Mike Elliott acknowledged that of the nearly 50 police officers in the department, he knew of none who actually lived in the city they patrolled.

“We do feel very strongly that we need officers to be from the community,” he said. “People want justice. They want full accountability under the law. That’s what we will continue to work for”

Wright’s fatal shooting came amid the televised trial of a white police officer who knelt on the neck of George Floyd, a Black man, apparently suffocating him to death, in Minneapolis.

Floyd’s death has sparked national outrage over what many has described as the continued police abuse and killing of Black unarmed men, mostly at the hands of white police officers.

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