MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — When Daunte Wright’s life was remembered at Shiloh Temple in North Minneapolis, Gov. Tim Walz, both U.S. Senators, Attorney General Keith Ellison, and his congresswoman Ilhan Omar looked on.
But more than a symbol, he was a son. And the pain of losing him was nearly too much for Katie Wright to bear.READ MORE: Help Sought Finding Missing 84-Year-Old Woman In Western Wisconsin
“My son had a smile worth a million dollars,” said Wright. “He was a brother, a jokester, and loved by so many. he’s gonna be so missed,” she added, tearing up, and being comforted by her husband Arbuey Wright.
In a sanctuary filled with people wearing masks, Wright’s sister Monica lamented the moments lost. “I didn’t get to tell him I loved him before he left. He didn’t deserve this,” she said.
Funeral For #DaunteWright: Civil rights attorney Ben Crump led all those in attendance in chanting: "Daunte Wright's life mattered!"
— WCCO – CBS Minnesota (@WCCO) April 22, 2021
The funeral was two hours of prayer, music, and memories along with a call to political action. Rev. Al Sharpton gave the eulogy, the second he’s given in Minnesota in less than a year.
“We’re going to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act as federal law. We are going to make it against the law all over the country to stop bringing us to funerals for our young kings,” said Sharpton.
His call for action echoed by Rep. Ilhan Omar and Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
“We must make policing more accountable,” said Klobuchar. “True justice is not done as long as having expired tags means using your life during a traffic stop. True justice is not done as long as a chokehold, a knee on the neck or a no-knock warrant is considered legitimate policing.”
As Daunte Wright funeral gets underway in Minneapolis people continue to gather at the Brooklyn Center intersection where he died, the growing memorial includes a clenched fist statue like the one at George Floyd Square @wcco will update pic.twitter.com/IQbbfrpKTR
— esme murphy (@esmemurphy) April 22, 2021
Friends and families of other families involved in high-profile deaths while dealing with police were in attendance in Minneapolis Thursday afternoon, including a friend of Breonna Taylor, the brothers of George Floyd, and the mother of Philando Castile.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump represents both the Floyd and Wright families.READ MORE: In Sartell, Beloved 'Grandpa Kevin' Is Sharing Life Lessons To Elementary School Students
“The quality of technology has gotten better. But the excessive use of force has remained the same,” said Crump.
That frustration and disappointment was shared in reflections from Wright’s uncle, Bobby McGee.
“This is just a travesty and we gotta do better as people,” said McGee.
Daunte Wright was shot by now former Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kim Potter during a traffic stop. According to the criminal complaint, Potter pulled over Wright because she suspected he had expired license tags, and also noted something hanging from his rear view mirror.
Wright’s mother said he called her after he was pulled over, saying he was in trouble for having an air freshener hanging.
“We come as the air fresheners for Minnesota,” said Sharpton. “We’re trying to get the stench of police brutality out of the atmosphere. We’re trying to get the stench of racism, of racial profiling, out of the atmosphere. We come to Minnesota as air fresheners because your air is too odorous. We can’t breathe in your stinking air no more.”
Potter has been charged with second degree manslaughter and resigned her job as a Brooklyn Center Police Officer. She is out of jail after posting bond. The next hearing in her court case is Monday, May 17.
Join me in holding a two-minute moment of silence today at noon to honor Daunte Wright’s life.
Nothing can bring Daunte back to his loved ones. But we will continue working to enact meaningful, lasting police accountability and reform.
— Governor Tim Walz (@GovTimWalz) April 22, 2021
A GoFundMe set up to help Wright’s family has raised nearly $1 million in just 10 days.MORE NEWS: Despite Warm Temps, Cold Water Poses Hypothermia Risk At Minnesota Lakes Over Memorial Day Weekend