Two Videos Show Police Still Threaten African-American Motorists

Police killings continue in 2021

Manny Otiko

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Photo by Thomas Hawk (Flickr)

By: Manny Otiko, IVN

Twenty-year-old father Daunte Wright is the latest African-American to become a hashtag. He was shot dead by Brooklyn Center, Minn. police during a traffic stop on Sunday. According to news reports, Wright had an arrest warrant for an expired tag. Recently released body cam video shows Wright attempting to drive his car away and a female officer shooting him. Although she shouted “Taser” several times, the officer claimed she mistook her gun for her Taser. Wright’s car drove for a few miles before he crashed. He was later pronounced dead from a gunshot wound.

In a press conference, local police chief Tim Gannon said officer Kim Potter made a fatal error with her equipment.

“This appears to me, from what I viewed in the officer’s reaction and distress immediately after, that this was an accidental discharge that resulted in the tragic death of Mr. Wright,” said Gannon.

Lethal cops

But Potter is a 26-year veteran of the police force who should have undergone years of weapons training. Both Gannon and Potter have resigned from their positions. By stepping down, Potter protects her pension. Potter was also president of the police union.

On Wednesday prosecutors announced Potter had been charged with second-degree manslaughter. If convicted, she faces up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. She was booked into jail and is being held on $100,000 bail.

Brooklyn Center has erupted in protests that went on late into Tuesday night. Police clashed with protesters who threw missiles at them. Three thousand National Guard troops have been deployed to the Twin Cities area. Ironically, Brooklyn Center is about 10 minutes from Minneapolis which is on edge as the trial of local police officer Derek Chauvin is currently ongoing. Chauvin is facing charges for the death of George Floyd, an African American man who was choked to death in 2020. Floyd’s death set off national and worldwide protests against police brutality.

President Joe Biden has called for calm and urged the protesters to remain peaceful.

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Manny Otiko

Manny Otiko writes about race, politics and sports. He has been published in Salon and LA Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @mannyotiko.