The Death of Daunte Wright

BROOKLYN CENTER, (Minn.) – Daunte Wright, a 20 year old black man, was fatally shot during a traffic stop in a Minneapolis suburb by a white police officer, this past Sunday afternoon. Wright's shooting comes as the murder trial of Derek Chauvin is ongoing just a few miles away in Minneapolis. Chauvin, a former police officer, is accused of killing George Floyd during an arrest last May.


The incident began this past Sunday afternoon, when Wright driving with his partner in Minneapolis suburb, was stopped for having air fresheners hanging from his rearview mirror and expired license tags, even though there is a pandemic-related backup in vehicle registration at the Minnesota DMV.

Wright was pulled over on what is called a pretext traffic stop — which legally allowed officers to stop him, on the belief that he had violated traffic laws. Officers then learned he had an outstanding warrant for his arrest for a gross misdemeanor weapons charge, according to the news release from Washington County Attorney Pete Orput's office. As officers began taking him into custody, Wright pulled away and re-entered his car. Police camera footage shows now known ex-officer Potter indicating that she was going to use her Taser gun, but instead she fatally shot him with her handgun.

Hennepin County Medical Examiner releases autopsy report for Wright. His Cause of death is a gunshot wound to the chest and manner of death is homicide. He died at 2:18 PM Sunday afternoon.

(Photo/Derick McKinney)


Wright had previous run-ins with the law enforcement. According to court records, he was charged with a petty misdemeanor twice in August 2019 – once for selling marijuana and another for disorderly conduct. In February, however, Wright was charged with aggravated robbery. He was released conditionally, according to jail records, and was due to appear in court this summer. It was the non-court appearance – case 27-CR-21-4400 – in which he was charged with carrying a pistol without a permit and fleeing an officer in June of last year. A notice for a hearing in that case on April 2 was uploaded on March 4.


During a press conference Police Chief Tim Gannnon urged the community to be patient and allow an investigation into the incident to be completed, indicating that the officer involved was placed on administrative leave.


Potter submitted her resignation on Tuesday. She was with the department for 26 years and served as the president of the police union.

Police Chief Tim Gannon submitted his resignation at the same time, and Commander Tony Gruenig took over as the acting chief.


The former Brooklyn Center police officer, Kim Porter was taken into custody by Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) on probable cause 2nd Degree Manslaughter, with charges filed later that day by Washington County Attorney’s Office.


Potter, made her first court appearance Thursday and is not scheduled to appear in court again until May 17. The case has been assigned to Hennepin County Judge Regina Chu.

She is being represented by Earl Gray, a high-profile Minnesota defense attorney who has represented multiple police officers, including his current client Thomas Lane, a former Minneapolis police officer who helped restrain George Floyd.


As reported by AP, Mayor Mike Elliott, who is Black, said at a news conference that “gassing is not a human way of policing” and he didn’t agree with police using pepper spray, tear gas and paintballs against demonstrators. Eliott didn’t respond to WeekenderNJ request to comment by the time this article was published.


The National Sheriffs Association issued a statement a few minutes ago, after brutalizing a grieving community every day this week contradicting everything that’s been live streamed and shared with the entire world to see.


Protests broke Sunday evening, and have continued to protest every day since. A curfew has been instituted, and a grieving community already on edge due to the ongoing trial of former officer Chauving, has been placed on curfew and militarized.

Devastating footage of a defenceless community turned into a war zone made its global debut – residents and even journalists were being attacked by tear gas, rubber bullets, flashbangs, and long lines of police riots, followed by arrests. On live footage you could see and hear Journalists finding themselves making the news, when they found themselves shockingly tackled and arrested while holding cameras, microphones, and press passes, continuing to voice over and over again ‘press' - 'I'm press.' Other Journalists feared for their safety, while being purposely blinded by flishlights from ‘state troopers, sheriff’s deputies and National Guard soldiers’ in an effort to suppress the media. It was a dark scene a Journalist expects to witness abroad in a war zone, not in an American suburban location.

ACLU - Minnesota Legal Director Teresa Nelson issued the following statement to WeekenderNJ:

“We’re disappointed and troubled that rather than ending the assaults and arrests of protesters and journalists at the Daunte Wright protests, “Operation Safety Net” appears to be doubling down. Our request in federal court for a TRO to end the targeting of journalists is pending, and we’ll keep pursuing that motion: It’s crucial to keep journalists safe to cover the protests, hold police accountable and preserve the right to freedom of the press. We also join in calling for the immediate end to this hyper-militarized response to a grieving community. We’re very concerned that the massive law enforcement response to protests over another killing by police is a chilling preview of what’s to come in response to the Chauvin trial verdict.”


The St Paul Regional Labor Federation hosted the National Guard, on Wednesday, April 14, a move that was deemed unacceptable by the officers of the Saint Paul Federation of Educators who expressed their disappointing and extensive solidarity to their grieving communities traumatized by military occupation.

The officers of the Saint Paul Federation of Educators were deeply disappointed that a space that has been dedicated to worker solidarity, safety, and the protection of those that need it most, had been turned into a staging ground for the National Guard without discussion or the consent of the Regional Labor Affiliates.

“In our best moments, the labor community has lifted up the voices and leadership of those often deemed as “less than”; women, immigrants, Black, Brown, Indigenous and immigrant worker leaders. In our worst, we have helped to reinforce the norms and policies of white supremacy. Our community has much to be proud of, and so much more work to do to repair these harms.”


The Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1005 put out a statement saying that drivers should not be called to transport protestors. This comes after an ATU member realized that his bus was called out for this very reason.

As the statement reads, “ATU Local 1005 applauds our members’ stand and continues to support our members in the struggle for Black Lives Matter”.

The ATU statement ends by saying, “We continue to stand in solidarity with our members as we did last summer during the George Floyd uprising when our members refused to transport young arrested protesters, who are justifiably angered at the injustice of racism, oppression and violence of the inequality inherent in the system we live under.” Solidarity with the transit workers and the protestors demanding justice for Daunte Wright.


“Let’s be clear: The brave men and women of the Minnesota National Guard are our neighbors.

They’re teachers, health care workers, and business owners who live in communities across our state.

This is unacceptable. They can’t “go home” — this is their home.

Just this year, they ran Minnesota’s nation-leading COVID-19 testing program and stepped in to keep seniors in nursing homes safe. Now they are leading efforts to get Minnesotans vaccinated.

As both a veteran of the Guard and Commander-in-Chief, thank you for everything you do.”

While Governor Walz thanked the Minnesota Guard, as both “a veteran of the Guard and Commander-in-Chief,” he neglected to address the community he turned into a war zone this week. It was almost as if one side mattered more than the other.

This article may continue to be updated as more information comes up.

Alie Pierce may be reached at Follow Alie Pierce on Twitter & IG.

Please enjoy the Website, which we constantly seek to improve. You can also subscribe to WeekenderNJ and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @WeekenderNJ.