Minneapolis mourns Daunte Wright, killed by police

Katie Wright, center, the mother of Daunte Wright is greeted by the Rev. Jesse Jackson at the public viewing of Daunte Wright, the day before his funeral in Minneapolis on Wednesday, April 21, 2021. (Photo: NYTimes)
MINNEAPOLIS — Two days after the streets of Minneapolis were filled with people celebrating the conviction of a police officer for the murder of George Floyd, the city returned to a period of mourning on Thursday for another Black man killed by a police officer.اضافة اعلان

Packed into a church for the funeral of Daunte Wright were politicians, faith leaders and relatives of other people killed by the police, including the boyfriend of Breonna Taylor and the families of Philando Castile and Oscar Grant. Many had come from across the country to pay respects to Wright, the 20-year-old man who was fatally shot by an officer in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center last week during a traffic stop.

Also in attendance were relatives of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old Black boy who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955 and whose cousin recently met with Philonise Floyd, one of Floyd’s brothers. After Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes, was found guilty of murder on Tuesday, Philonise Floyd said he had thought of both Wright and Emmett Till, whom he called “the first George Floyd.”

On Thursday, the Rev. Al Sharpton delivered the eulogy for Wright to a grieving family and city. He said he was told that Minneapolis had not seen a funeral procession so large since Prince, the musician who was born and raised in Minneapolis, had died in 2016.

“Well, we came to bury the prince of Brooklyn Center,” Sharpton said, standing before a white coffin that was covered in red roses. “We come from all over the country because you hurt one of our princes.”

Wright was killed during a traffic stop for an expired registration, during which a police officer also noted the air freshener hanging from his rearview mirror as an additional violation. His death, during the Chauvin trial, set off a wave of protests in Brooklyn Center that lasted for more than a week.

“You thought he was just some kid with an air freshener,” Sharpton said. “He was a prince, and all of Minneapolis has stopped today to honor the prince of Brooklyn Center.”

Through tears, Wright’s parents remembered him at the service as a loving son, a class clown and a new father, whose child, Daunte Jr., is not even 2 years old.

“He always said he couldn’t wait to make his son proud,” said Katie Wright, Daunte Wright’s mother. “Junior was the joy of his life, and he lived for him every single day, and now he’s not going to be able to see him.”

Gov. Tim Walz and Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota each gave their condolences to the Wright family at the service, and Rep. Ilhan Omar presented his parents with a flag that she said had flown over the U.S. Capitol in his memory.

The funeral service on Thursday was a sharp reminder that the toll of police violence has endured during and since the trial of Chauvin. An average of roughly three people a day were killed by the police during the trial, and, just minutes before the verdict was read, an officer in Columbus, Ohio, shot and killed a teenage girl who was lunging toward another girl with a knife, setting off more protests.

From across the street, Brianna Patterson and a friend watched people file into the church and thought about their own children and how to keep them safe from the police.

“Every time my 22-year-old son goes out, I want to keep him home,” Patterson said. “This has been happening since I was a twinkle in my mother’s eye. This has been happening since my mother was a twinkle.”

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