MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Katie Wright, Daunte Wright’s mother, and Chyna Whitaker, mother of Daunte’s son Daunt Wright Jr, are bound together by their loss and their grief. But they are not alone in their mourning. A group of mothers, fathers, siblings and friends share in a collective pain as families who’ve lost loved ones to law enforcement.
“My son is going to be buried in a few days and that’s not OK,” said Katie Wright, with tears in her eyes as she held a poster with her son’s face on it.READ MORE: Protesters March 3 Weeks After Daunte Wright's Death To Call For Harsher Charges Against Ex-Officer
Next to her in a Minneapolis hotel conference room Friday was Valerie Castile. Her son, Philando, was shot and killed during a traffic stop nearly five years ago. The officer was charged and later acquitted.
Minutes later, Castile took the podium and said Daunte Wright’s death “struck a chord.” Both of their sons were Black men who drove white cars when law enforcement pulled them over for a traffic violation before fatally shooting them — nearly five years apart.
“How do you keep having murder after murder? We don’t have time to recover,” Castile said. “I’m mad as hell again. And again and again and again.”
Katie Wright and Valerie Castile joined other families to demand justice for Daunte and their loved ones, too. As Castile put it, the group wears “a cloak like no other.”
One by one they told the stories of their sons, brothers and friends who died during an encounter with law enforcement and shared that Daunte Wright’s death during Derek Chauvin’s murder trial for George Floyd’s killing is traumatizing them once again.READ MORE: The Death Of Daunte Wright: Training Details Scarce In Ex-Officer Kim Potter's File
They say there hasn’t been any change since they’ve lost their loved ones years ago.
“A lot of the things we’ve demanded back then have fallen on deaf ears,” said Tiffany Burns, sister of Jamar Clark, fatally shot by Minneapolis Police in 2015.
Toshira Garraway formed the group Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence to offer support to surviving family members.
She said as the country remembers Daunte Wright and George Floyd’s names, she hopes others like her fiancé Justin Teigen, who died in 2009 during an encounter with St. Paul police, aren’t forgotten.
“No one knows his story,” she said of Teigen, who is the father of her son. “No one knows hardly about Cordale Handy. No one hardly knows about Hardel Sherrell and Jaffort Smith and Demetrius Hill and Marcus Golden and Kobe Dimock-Heisler. They want to isolate these stories.”MORE NEWS: Stillwater Corrections Sergeant On Investigative Leave After Confrontation With Protesters Caught On Video
But the families, she said, stand in solidarity.