Barack Obama calls on country to ‘reimagine policing’ following Daunte Wright’s death
This week, former President Barack Obama calls on the country to “reimagine policing” after Daunte Wright‘s fatal shooting by a Minnesota police officer. He also expressed deep empathy for the families left behind in these incidents.
“Our hearts are heavy over yet another shooting of a Black man, Daunte Wright, at the hands of police. It’s important to conduct a full and transparent investigation, but this is also a reminder of just how badly we need to reimagine policing and public safety in this country,” Obama wrote in the caption to his tweet on Tuesday, which was accompanied by a screenshot of an official statement.
Wright, 20, was shot to death on Sunday afternoon as he tried to flee a traffic stop. Prior to the shooting, he had been stopped for having expired license plates and an air freshener hanging from his rearview mirror.
“Michelle and I grieve alongside the Wright family for their loss,” Obama said in a statement. “We empathize with the pain that Black mothers, fathers, and children are feeling after yet another senseless tragedy.”
“And we will continue to work with all fair-minded Americans to confront historical inequities and bring about nationwide changes that are so long overdue,” he concluded before offering a list of resources on trauma and mental health.
An unnecessary loss
As we previously reported, the officer who shot and killed 20-year-old Daunte Wright has now been identified as Kim Potter, a 26-year veteran with the Brooklyn Center, Minnesota Police Department.
Authorities say Potter’s body-camera video of the incident indicates she believed she was firing her Taser instead of her pistol at Wright after he twisted away and ducked into his car.
To their point, in the body camera footage shown at a Monday press conference, Potter can be heard shouting “Taser” three times, then she fired a shot. She immediately said, “Holy s***, I just shot him,” as the car drove away.
“It is my belief that the officer had the intention to deploy their Taser but instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet,” Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said Monday. “This appears to me, from what I’ve viewed and the officer’s reaction and distress immediately after, that this was an accidental discharge that resulted in the tragic death of Mr. Wright.”
The shooting has sparked protests in a part of Minnesota that is still reeling from the killing of George Floyd. It happened only 10 miles from where the trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin is taking place for his murder.
The Hennepin County medical examiner has deemed Wright’s death a homicide. The young man’s family has hired attorney Ben Crump.
Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott has announced that the city council had given him direct control of police operations. Elliott has said he supports relieving Potter of her duty as an officer.
“Our hearts are aching right now. We are in pain right now,” Elliott contended. He said that the shooting “couldn’t have happened at a worse time” when the area is bracing for a ruling in the Chauvin trial.
“So, to have a police shooting involved in our community and killing a young man is heartbreaking and unfathomable,” he said. “Let me be clear: We will get to the bottom of this. We will do all that is within our power to make sure that justice is done for Daunte Wright.”
Reports indicate that Potter has resigned. She was previously the president of the Brooklyn Center Police Union.
Wright’s killing is renewing calls for defunding police.