Daunte Wright Funeral Sees Minneapolis Grieve Just Days After Derek Chauvin Verdict

Minneapolis will continue to mourn the death of Daunte Wright as he is laid to rest on Thursday, in the same week the city celebrated guilty verdicts handed to former police officer Derek Chauvin over the murder of George Floyd.

Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, was shot on April 11 by an officer during a traffic stop in the suburb of Brooklyn Center—just miles from where Floyd was killed in May last year.

After being shot, he drove a short distance away before colliding with another vehicle, police said at the time. He was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.

His death sparked protests, as Floyd's did last year.

On Tuesday, Chauvin was convicted of murder and manslaughter of Floyd following a closely-watched trial. The verdicts saw members of the Minneapolis community gather to celebrate in the city's streets.

But a day after Chauvin's conviction, mourners poured into a Minneapolis church for a public viewing for Wright.

Friends and family members were seen embracing and weeping by his open casket, on the eve of his funeral.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, who delivered the eulogy for Floyd at his funeral in Minneapolis last year, will eulogize Wright during the funeral.

It is to be held at the Shiloh Temple International Ministries church and the service will begin at 12 p.m. CDT on Thursday, Reuters reports.

Members of Wright's family and Ben Crump, a civil rights attorney who represents both the Wright and Floyd families, will also speak at the funeral.

A spokesman for Crump said some members of Floyd's family are expected to attend.

Crump spoke at Wednesday's memorial, telling the Wright family: "You won't be fighting alone. We'll be fighting with you in and outside the courtroom to make sure that there's accountability."

Floyd's brother Terrence Floyd and Sharpton were also among those who paid their respects at Wright's memorial on Wednesday.

"A day after celebrating Derek Chauvin's guilty verdict, Minneapolis resumes mourning for Daunte Wright," Sharpton later said in a tweet.

Sharpton told The Associated Press that his eulogy on Thursday would first pay tribute to Wright, who he described as "a young man just at the beginning of life, full of life."

He said he would also remind people that the fight for racial justice didn't end with Chauvin's conviction.

"We should not think that, because we won one battle with Chauvin, the war is over," Sharpton said. "Or that if we do not get justice for this case, that we will undo what we were able to do with George Floyd. This is round two, and we must win this round."

As we watched the video of Daunte Wright’s senseless killing, we saw a reflection of him in our own children. This could have happened to ANY of our kids! There MUST be accountability for his death. We MUST get justice for #DaunteWright! pic.twitter.com/Wi1fxDWCgH

— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) April 21, 2021

Wright's killing came a time when the Minneapolis area was already on edge during Chauvin's trial.

Wright, a father to a one-year-old son, had been pulled over in Brooklyn Center, on the afternoon of April 11.

Police said he was stopped because his vehicle had an expired registration. His mother, Katie Wright, said he had called her to say he was stopped because of air fresheners hanging from his rearview mirror.

The shooting took place while officers were trying to take Wright into custody, after they learned he had an outstanding arrest warrant. This was due to having failed to appear in court on charges of fleeing police and having a gun without a permit.

Then Brooklyn Center police chief Tim Gannon said the body camera footage of the shooting indicated that the white officer who shot Wright—Kim Potter, a 26-year veteran of the department—mistook her gun for a Taser. "Taser! Taser! Taser!" she can be heard saying in the video, before firing a single shot.

Both Potter and Gannon resigned shortly after the shooting. Potter has been charged with second-degree manslaughter.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner said Wright's cause of death was a gunshot wound to the chest.

Activists have said that Wright's shooting demonstrates how the system of policing in the nation is broken.

"Derek Chauvin's guilty verdict doesn't fix an irredeemable, racist system of policing rooted in white supremacy that will continue working against and harming Black people just as designed. Minnesota police couldn't even go the full length of the trial without taking the life of another Black person, and now we're grieving for Daunte Wright just as we continue to grieve for George Floyd," Karissa Lewis, the national field director of the Movement for Black Lives, said in a statement to Newsweek.

"Now is the time for a complete reimagining of public safety in the United States, so that no more fathers, mothers, daughters, sons, children, siblings or loved ones are lost to the hands of state violence."

Lewis added: "Our calls for defunding the police will continue to grow louder with each police murder. We will not give up fighting until Black people and communities get the justice and liberation they deserve."

Daunte Wright wake
Family and friends of Daunte Wright mourn during the public viewing of his open casket at Shiloh Temple International Ministries in Minneapolis, April 21, 2021. Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images