Statement On the Killing of Daunte Wright
Sunday, April 10th Daunte Wright was killed by a Brooklyn Center police officer during a traffic stop. He was a beloved son, father, and friend. He was only 20 years old and had his whole life before him. The details are just emerging, but from what we know this was tragic and senseless. Whether the officer was grabbing a gun or a taser, this act of violence did not need to happen.
I support peaceful protest over the continued acts of brutality that Black, Latino, and Native people endure at the hands of law enforcement. These acts of police violence are unjust and undermine our ability to live in peace. Our collective refusal is vitally important.
I urge police federations across the Twin Cities to listen to the demands of their communities -- and in the case of Minneapolis, by their own Police Chief -- to willingly accept community policing reforms. Just this weekend the state of Maryland passed legislation that will improve accountability and protect whistle-blowers, and I am likewise calling on state legislators in Minnesota to take leadership on statewide reform. There are cities and states across our country that can serve as models. Twenty years ago Cincinnati experienced unrest that destroyed part of the city after the murder of a Black youth at the hands of police. The union there did not willingly accept community policing reforms and was forced into a court-ordered negotiated settlement and Justice Department consent decree. This resulted in a nearly 70% reduction in police use of force. As the Ward 10 Minneapolis City Council Member, I will be ready to pursue a similar course of action if needed.
Finally, I urge members of the community to obey all curfews. There are dangerous and armed criminal actors taking advantage of our pain and the chaos of this moment. Many of our businesses were looted and damaged, some like the Walgreens pharmacy on Hennepin had only recently reopened and other small businesses like Loon Grocery were saved when officers arrived. Neighbors in South Uptown were threatened from intervening by looters with guns. We must acknowledge that many of our businesses were saved in the knick of time by the intervention of police, and there are times effective law enforcement is needed to save lives and livelihoods.
While the current moment feels hopeless, please know that as your Ward 10 city council member I will challenge the proposition that racialized brutality is something we must accept from policing -- this proposition is used by some to reject reform, and it is used by others to pursue incoherent notions of public safety without law enforcement. The truth is that violence ensues from either of these paths. We all grieve for Daunte Wright and his family and pledge to work to change the racist systems in our community that allowed this to happen.