Daunte Wright Situation: A Student’s Response

Photo+credit+for+this+image+here%3A+https%3A%2F%2Fnypost.com%2F2021%2F04%2F13%2Fdaunte-wright-was-afraid-police-would-do-something-like-this%2F.

The NY Post

Photo credit for this image here: https://nypost.com/2021/04/13/daunte-wright-was-afraid-police-would-do-something-like-this/.

Jason Rong, Writer

April 11, 2021 

Daunte Demetrius Wright, a twenty-year-old black teen who had an outstanding arrest warrant, was killed by female senior police officer Kim Potter on April 11, 2021, in Brooklyn, Minnesota. In Kim Potter’s bodycam footage, Daunte was shown resisting arrest and stepping back into his car; as Daunte got back into the driver’s seat, the senior police officer pulled out a Glock and shot into the driver’s seat multiple times, killing Daunte. The shooting of Daunte Wright raised questions about the use of excessive force and spawned new conspiracies about the police department. While many people believe that Kim Potter killed Daunte intentionally, others believe that the killing happened in the heat of the moment and that the incident was nothing more than a tragic accident. The incident isn’t as black and white as it seems.

 

Diving into the case 

 

Kim Potter 

 

⇢Background 

According to Conan Daily, Kim Potter joined the police department in 1995 at 22 years old and initially worked in the Minnesota suburban areas that consisted of roughly 30,000 residents. Kim married former police officer Jeff Potter in Fridley, Anoka County, Minnesota, and had two sons. In March 2016, Kim Potter and her fellow officers Kris Stein and Steve Lorentz responded to a shooting outside of a local business in Brooklyn Center. On April 18, 2017, they were honored with the Chief’s Unit Certificate of Commendation in the Brooklyn Center Community Center. In 2019, a police officer shot at a mentally ill man multiple times, and Kim Potter was among the first to arrive at the scene. In the same year, she was elected to represent Brooklyn Police Officers Association and received great honors. Her salaries went up from $82,335 in 2017 to $86,190 in 2018 and $90,513 in 2019. Everything was going well for her until an unexpected encounter changed her life forever. 

 

⇢Day of the Incident 

On April 11th, 2021, at 48 years old, Kimberly carried out her last duty. Kim received a warrant for Daunte Demetrius Wright and went on a pursuit to catch him. During the process of confronting Daunte, Kim fatally shot Daunte to death. The court charged Kim Potter with second-degree manslaughter. According to VOA News, “When someone “creates an unreasonable risk, and consciously takes chances of causing death or great bodily harm to another” is guilty of manslaughter in the second degree” (VOA). Potter’s main statement for killing Wright was that she mistook her taser with her Glock. Now, there are many differences between a Glock and a Pistol. While the exact models of firearms that Potter carried aren’t released to the public, the standard models are enough to show the difference. According to Glock Inc, a standard Glock weighs 1.38 pounds, and a standard taser weighs 0.45 pounds. 

 

Daunte Demetrius Wright

 

⇢Background 

Daunte Demetrius Wright was born in Chicago, Illinois, USA, to a dad of African American descent and a mom of white descent. The family moved around frequently since Daunte was a young boy. Daunte attended Thomas Edison High School in Minneapolis and Blaine High School in Blaine, Minnesota. However, he only did for a short amount of time. According to USA Today, Daunte struggled with learning disabilities and dropped out of high school. According to Daunte’s father, Daunte planned to get his GED after giving birth to his child and worked to support him. Daunte Wright gave birth to his first child, Daunte Wright Jr, in 2020. On April 2, 2021, A warrant for Daunte’s arrest was issued.

According to Insider, Daunte Wright had an outstanding warrant for carrying a pistol without a permit. (see image above for the warrant filed in the District Court of State of Minnesota on April 2, 2021.)

 

⇢Day of the Incident 

At approximately 2:00 pm on April 11th, Brooklyn Center Police Department officers Kim Potter and Anthony Luckey pulled Daunte Wright over. The two police officers confronted Daunte and shot him to death. Following the shooting of Daunte Wright, Daunte’s family demanded justice and received condolences from people across the nation. However, they also received death threats from people that think Daunte deserved it. 

 

A Student’s Response 

 

When looking at the circumstances surrounding the shooting of Daunte Wright, it’s clear that Daunte had no intention of harming anyone. According to the words of Daunte’s mother and father, he was not a bad kid but a troubled one. He had learning disabilities, but after he gave birth to his child, he tried to get his GED, which shows that he had compassion and cared about his future. It’s highly unlikely for someone who cares for his family like that to suddenly go off the grid and harm police officers or civilians. Based on Daunte’s background, it’s reasonable to assume that he wasn’t a threat and had no intention of causing harm. Now, what about Kim? Did Kim have the mind of a killer? 

 

Kim killed Daunte by accident. While the differences between Glock and taser are enough evidence to prove that Kim was lying, it doesn’t change the fact that Kim was under high pressure, showed regrets immediately after killing Daunte, and had a clean record. Kim worked as a police officer for 26 years, and her records were excellent. She was actively involved in helping those in need, evidenced by the event that occurred in 2019. In 2019, Kim was among the first to arrive at a scene when a cop used excessive force on a mentally ill person. Her workmates reported many good things about her despite the case that’s unfolding right now. Brian Peters, the head of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, said that Kim was “a very dedicated, passionate, good person.” I’ll take his words for it because when something as extreme as this happens, many people switch up to protect their own skins. The fact that Brian didn’t shows that he genuinely thought Kim was a good person. Plus, it’s not likely for a cop who had consistent reports of good behavior to snap suddenly and become a killer. Based on the positive career history of Kim, it’s reasonable to assume that she killed Daunte in a state of panic. However, by accident or not, Kim made an irreversible mistake, and the consequences of that mistake will follow her for the rest of her life.  

 

Conclusion & Where do we go from here? 

 

This incident sparked debate about whether or not the government should defund the police. While some people believe that police should receive more training to prepare for high-stressful situations, others think that no amount of training will ever be enough, and that there need to be less violent and fatal solutions found by police officers. The shooting of Daunte Wright also raised questions about the use of lethal force. Should police no longer have lethal force on them? 

 

As we take those questions to heart and come up with answers, the court hearing for Kim Potter is coming up on May 17th. No matter what the verdict will be, I hope that both sides find the peace they deserve. This incident serves as a reminder that we should cherish every second of life because life is fragile.