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How To Demand Justice For Daunte Wright

Wright was shot Sunday afternoon after a traffic stop.

BROOKLYN CENTER, MN - APRIL 11: Two people embrace as demonstrators gather on April 11, 2021 in Broo...
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During a Sunday, April 11 traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, 20-year-old Daunte Wright was shot and killed by police, per AP News. The police pulled Wright and his girlfriend over around 2 p.m., allegedly because he had an air freshener dangling from his rearview mirror, per his family. The police shot Wright after determining that he had an outstanding warrant, the family says; Wright then reentered his car and attempted to drive away, colliding with another car after several blocks. The police allege that the shots were fired after Wright got back in his car, per the AP.

“Yet another Black life was taken by those sworn to protect, and we join the community in mourning Wright’s loss,” the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota (ACLU-MN) said in a statement, calling for a swift and transparent investigation of the killing, including the release of all police bodycam footage.

Protests for justice after Daunte Wright’s killing mounted in Brooklyn Center into Monday morning, with Wright’s mother, Katie Wright, appealing for calm. Wright’s death comes at a time of high tension: Brooklyn Center is in the suburbs of Minneapolis, where the trial of Derek Chauvin, the police officer charged with the 2020 murder of George Floyd, is currently underway. USA Today reports that protests over Wright’s death have been met with police in riot gear, who have fired gas and a chemical agent into crowds.

Here’s what you can do to help the fight for justice for Wright.

Call For An Independent Investigation Of Daunte Wright’s Death

The Brooklyn Center Police Department said in a statement that it asked the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to investigate Wright’s killing, according to ABC News. The ACLU-MN has called for an independent agency, not the BCA or Minnesota’s own police force, to conduct the investigation, and also for the naming of all officers and agencies involved.

If you want to lend your voice to these efforts, you can contact the office of Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz via phone or webform on his website to ask for an independent investigation. The office of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison can be contacted via phone or on his website, and the county attorney for Hennepin County, Mike Freeman, can be reached via phone or email.

Talk To Your People About Why Focusing On “Looting” Is Harmful

After some businesses in the town were damaged during protests, Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott declared a curfew between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m. Monday, per the Washington Post. If your dad keeps turning the focus to “looting” whenever you want to talk about police violence against Black people, it’s worth having some responses ready.

The concept of looting is often brought up as justification for further violence against Black communities: Miami Police Chief Walter Headley, speaking in 1967 about a “tough on crime” approach in that city’s Black neighborhoods, used the phrase “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Former President Donald Trump used the same phrase when Minneapolis residents protested George Floyd’s killing last year, per Slate. To further illustrate how the word is used to paint a negative portrait of Black communities, after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, news agencies labeled Black survivors carrying supplies as looters, while white people were captioned as “finding” or “scavenging” goods.

Painting community anger as ”looting” is a distraction from the core of the situation, which is about needless, racially motivated police violence. As Daunte Wright’s mother Katie Wright told protesters, “We need it to be about why my son got shot for no reason.”

Donate To Daunte Wright’s Family’s GoFundMe Or Minnesota Freedom Fund

Daunte Wright leaves behind a young son in addition to his grieving family. Wright’s aunt Kelly Bryant has set up a GoFundMe to pay for Wright’s funeral costs, which as of 1 p.m. on April 12 had raised over $13,000 out of a $15,000 goal.

The Minnesota Freedom Fund pays criminal bail for those in the state who can’t afford it. In a statement, its co-founders said, “The killing of Daunte Wright — which happened just 10 miles away from where former police officer Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd — is a tragic reminder of the desperate need to reform our state’s racist law enforcement system.” The organization is posting bail for those who are being arrested during the protests in Brooklyn Center. You can donate securely through their website.

Educate Yourself About Defunding The Police

Contacting your local council or state government to demand action on police violence against Black communities is a great step, but it may not feel like enough. Daunte Wright’s death has reignited conversations about defunding the police that came to the forefront after George Floyd’s death in 2020. If you’re uncertain about what that means, or how life would function in a society that diverted funding from law enforcement to other social and economic programs, there are a few ways to educate yourself. Boost your reading list with a bunch of essential books about defunding police forces, and read up on what it might look like in practice.