Daunte Wright was the father of a 2-year-old son. The police officer who shot him resigned and was arrested.
We might never understand the pain of a parent who loses their child unjustly and untimely. We can only take guesses. It might feel like they are swimming against the stream while seeking justice and coping with their pain. The parents of 20-year-old Daunte Wright, who was shot and killed by a police officer, are likely in unimaginable pain right now.
Daunte, the father of a 2-year-old boy, was mistakenly killed by a 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center Police Department, Kim Potter. She wanted to use her taser but instead used her gun on him and "accidentally" shot Daunte, said Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon, according to Good Morning America. The 20-year-old was driving in Brooklyn Center when police stopped him on April 11. The officers pulled him over as he had an expired registration tag on his car. However, they realized he had an outstanding gross misdemeanor warrant, according to the Brooklyn Center Police Chief.
Police tried to take him into custody but he went inside his car, and that's when Kim fired at him. The 20-year-old drove away in his car, which traveled several blocks before crashing into another vehicle. Officers and medical personnel "attempted life-saving measures" but he passed away at the scene.
His father, Aubrey Wright, has not been able to grasp how the events unfolded. "I lost my son, he's never coming back," Aubrey said. "I can't accept that -- a mistake, that doesn't even sound right," he added. "This officer has been on the force for 26 years. I can't accept that."
His family remembers him as a charming young man. "He had a 2-year-old son that’s not going to be able to play basketball with him. He had sisters and brothers that he loved so much," said Katie Wright, his mother.
His aunt, Naisha Wright, was quoted by The Guardian as calling him "a lovable young man." She added, "His smile, oh Lord, the most beautiful smile." Daunte was reportedly crowned as the "class clown" as a freshman in Edison high school.
Jonathan Mason, a youth development specialist and mentor at the school, said he was gregarious and popular. "He was a charismatic kid. He would joke with you, and he was so witty," he added. "He was one of those kids that everybody looked up to," said Jonathan. Daunte, who was good in basketball, reportedly wanted to be an NBA player, fashion designer, and a business owner, he added.
The mentor had also spoken to him about how Black men should behave if they have an encounter with police. "I talked about if they pull you over, make sure your hands are on the top of the steering wheel, don’t reach for anything," said Jonathan. "He would always say, ‘Man, why we gotta do all that just for people not to kill us?'"
Kim and Tim have since resigned from their positions and Kim has been charged with second-degree manslaughter, as per BBC. She was arrested and later released on $100,000 bail. In Minnesota, a person can be found guilty of second-degree manslaughter if it's proven that the person has shown culpable negligence creating an unreasonable risk and "consciously take chances of causing death or great bodily harm" to someone else.
Daunte's family's lawyer Ben Crump said the killing was an "intentional, deliberate, and unlawful use of force" even though the Brooklyn Center Police Chief called it an accident.
Meanwhile, people gathered in Minnesota, defying curfew, to protest against the police killing. Protesters reportedly threw bottles and other items at police who retaliated with stun grenades and pepper spray.
Cover image source: Getty Images | Photo by Michael M. Santiago