Former President Barack Obama called to “reimagine policing” after the death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright.
Obama used Wright’s death to reiterate his call to reform policing and to combat systemic racism. The former president also invoked the death of George Floyd, which Obama referred to as a “murder” and for which former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin is currently on trial.
“Our hearts are heavy over yet another shooting of a Black man, Daunte Wright, at the hands of police,” Obama said in a statement. “The fact that this could happen even as the city of Minneapolis is going through the trial of Derek Chauvin and re-living the heart-wrenching murder of George Floyd indicates not just how important it is to conduct a full and transparent investigation, but also just how badly we need to reimagine policing and public safety in this country.”
“Michelle and I grieve beside the Wright family for their loss,” he continued. “We empathize with the pain that Black mothers, fathers, and children are feeling after yet another senseless tragedy. And we will continue to work with all fair-minded Americans to confront historical inequities and bring about nationwide changes that are so long overdue.”
Our hearts are heavy over yet another shooting of a Black man, Daunte Wright, at the hands of police. It’s important to conduct a full and transparent investigation, but this is also a reminder of just how badly we need to reimagine policing and public safety in this country. pic.twitter.com/sgcbRjlApr
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) April 13, 2021
Wright died after he was shot by Brooklyn Center police during a traffic stop. An officer shot Wright after pulling him over on Sunday afternoon after he allegedly resisted arrest and attempted to flee in his car. Brooklyn Center police officials said, Monday, that the officer involved in the shooting was attempting to tase Wright but fired off a gun instead.
After pulling Wright over, “officers determined that the driver of the vehicle had an outstanding warrant,” the Brooklyn Center Police Department said in a statement on Monday. “At one point as officers were attempting to take the driver into custody, the driver re-entered the vehicle. One officer discharged their firearm, striking the driver. The vehicle traveled several blocks before striking another vehicle. Officers in pursuit and responding medical personnel attempted life-saving measures, but the person died at the scene.”
A spate of departures followed Wright’s fatal shooting. Brooklyn Center City Manager Curt Boganey was fired Monday after contradicting Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott and calling for due process for the police officer involved before firing the officer.
Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon and officer Kim Potter, the officer who allegedly shot Wright, both resigned Tuesday. As The Daily Wire reported:
Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliot announced Gannon’s resignation during a press conference on Tuesday, reports WCCO-TV. Elliot said that two senior police officials would take control of the department amidst the ongoing “crisis” in the area. According to NBC News, the mayor did not provide a specific reason to reporters for why Gannon had decided to resign as the department’s police chief.
According to The Associated Press, activists who showed up to the press conference were quick to criticize Acting Police Chief Tony Gruenig for not having a plan for the department. It’s not clear how much notice Gruenig had prior to assuming the role.
Potter, 48, announced in a letter to city officials earlier Tuesday that she was resigning effective immediately. “I have loved every minute of being a police officer and serving this community to the best of my ability, but I believe it is in the best interest of the community, the department, and my fellow officers if I resign immediately,” she wrote in the resignation letter.