MILWAUKEE – In response to the killing of 20-year-old Minnesota father Daunte Wright this week by Brooklyn Center, Minnesota police, State Rep. David Bowen (D-Milwaukee) and Shorewood Village President-elect Ann McKaig released the following statement:
“Why must another Black life be prematurely ended by police prior to reaching their God-given destiny? The answer is there’s an active status quo working overtime to prevent laws and protocols from being changed that would stop it,” said Rep. Bowen. “Daunte Wright was a son, a father, and a beloved member of his community who had his life cut short during a traffic stop for expired plates, because a veteran officer couldn’t tell the difference between a taser and her service weapon. Let that sink in for a moment – this was an officer who was described by her chief as ‘a very senior officer,’ and yet, despite her 25 years on the force, grabbed her service weapon instead of her taser, did not correct her mistake, and ended a young man’s life. Even if the killing of Daunte Wright was a ‘mistake,’ as some who have rushed to the officer’s defense are claiming, those individuals entrusted with deadly weapons, who are supposed to protect and serve our communities, do not get to make those mistakes. To be clear, like altogether too many others, this killing was avoidable & an abomination of the promise that should exist in our country to live, it was completely unacceptable, and I hope to see the officer who pulled that trigger held accountable to the fullest extent of the law but even then we commonly find out current laws allow officers to kill black people vastly with impunity.”
Sunday, around 2pm, 20-year-old Daunte Wright and his girlfriend were pulled over by Brooklyn Center police for expired registration tabs on the vehicle Daunte was driving. After pulling Wright over, police determined that there was an outstanding warrant for him and chose to arrest him. When Wright attempted to re-enter his vehicle, a scuffle broke out and a police officer threatened to tase him before shooting him with her service weapon.
Continued Rep. Bowen, “This case, like so many before it, show the urgent necessity for meaningful reform measures and a reimagination of public safety – there was no need for armed police to be handling a traffic stop over expired registration tabs, during a global pandemic when registration renewals have faced backlogs across the country. Once again, we see that we must take meaningful steps to reduce the number of interactions between armed police and citizens, and lower the likelihood of escalation and violence in situations where it can easily be avoided.”
“My heart is with all the people who are left behind to mourn Daunte, and with those who fear for the safety of their loved ones today. This is why we will support the work in Shorewood that examines our part in the systems that make it possible for this kind of violence to occur,” added President-elect McKaig.
Ended Rep. Bowen, “My heart breaks for Daunte Wright, his family and loved ones, and his community, and my prayers are with them as they face this unimaginable tragedy. But make no mistake, despite my sadness, despite my frustration, despite my anger at the consistent devaluation of Black life and unspoken assumption that the color of our skin makes us guilty until proven innocent; my fire and my commitment to meaningful change burn as bright and hot as ever.”