Demonstrators are seen at a vigil for Daunte Wright in Washington Square Park. – New York, NY. – April 17, 2021 (Shutterstock)
By Margaret Huang, SPLC
Today, a jury found former police officer Kim Potter guilty of first- and second-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of Daunte Wright. The killing of Wright by a white officer who swore to protect and serve her community is yet another example of violent police interactions with Black citizens.
After being pulled over for a minor traffic infraction in Minneapolis – just 11 miles away from where George Floyd succumbed at the knee of another officer – Daunte Wright was shot and killed by Potter.
And while justice was served in Daunte Wright’s case, we must not forget about the countless other Black and Brown people who have been shot or killed by police officers in the U.S., often without the benefit of video evidence or sympathetic juries such as those in Kim Potter’s trial.
In the United States, Black men are about 2.5 times more likely to be killed by police than are white men. Due to the history of human rights violations by law enforcement who frequently use force – especially lethal force – against individuals of color, we must undertake significant reforms to stop seeing these tragedies unfold.
Our criminal and legal systems are long overdue for a transformation to root out the inherent racism that has long plagued our country. We challenge lawmakers at both the federal and state levels to hold officers accountable for police violence.
Our hearts and prayers go out to the Wright family, as this is yet another reminder of the tragedy they must endure.