MINNEAPOLIS – Family and friends of Daunte Wright exalted the 20-year-old Black father fatally shot during a traffic stop by a veteran Minnesota police officer at a funeral service in Minneapolis on Thursday.
“He was a brother, a jokester,” Wright’s mother, Katie, said as she fought back tears. “He was loved by so many. He is going to be so missed.”
Hundreds of mourners were inside Shiloh International Ministries for the service, 11 days after Wright’s death in nearby Brooklyn Center and two days after the police officer who killed George Floyd last May was convicted of murder in a Minneapolis courtroom.
Katie Wright reflected on Wright’s son, Daunte Jr., and the “joy” the child brought him: “He was so happy and so proud, and he said he couldn’t wait to make his son proud.”
Civil rights leader Al Sharpton, who delivered the eulogy, said that as he arrived at the service, a man told him he had not seen a similar funeral procession since the death of the pop icon Prince, a Minneapolis native.
“I said, ‘Well, we came to bury the prince of Brooklyn Center,’” Sharpton said to applause from the audience.
Wright was killed April 11 in Brooklyn Center, about 10 miles north of Minneapolis, after police pulled him over for driving a car with an expired license plate. During a struggle,, police officer Kim Potter warned that she would tase him but shot Wright with her gun instead. Police said she mistook the weapons.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., told mourners at the Shiloh Temple that the conviction of former police officer Derek Chauvin in Floyd’s death did not equate to justice for all those wrongfully killed by law enforcement.
“True justice is not done as long as having expired tags means losing your life during a traffic stop,” Klobuchar said. “True justice is not done as long as Black Americans are killed by law enforcement at more than twice the rate of white Americans.”
Besides Klobuchar, Gov. Tim Walz, Sen. Tina Smith, Rep. Ilhan Omar, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and Floyd’s family members were in attendance.
Civil rights lawyer Ben Crump revved up the packed, energetic crowd at the service, exhorting them to repeat several times, “Daunte Wright’s life mattered.”
The congregation responded enthusiastically to an artist painting a portrait of Wright on a black canvas with white paint as jazz trumpeter Keyon Harrold played a solo of “Amazing Grace.”
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Wright’s death brought on anger, sadness and frustration in a community already on edge amid Chauvin’s trial.
Chauvin was found guilty on all three counts of murdering Floyd. Potter, a Brooklyn Center officer for 26 years, resigned in the days after Wright’s death and is charged with second-degree manslaughter. The city’s police chief, who also resigned, said Potter thought she was using her Taser when she pulled out her firearm.
Ellison, whose office led the prosecution of Chauvin, and Floyd’s family, who held up fists, received rounds of applause as Crump praised them during the service. Crump and Klobuchar called for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to pass in Congress.
Outside the church, mourners gathered, including several people whose loved ones were killed by police.
Rashad Henry and Brian Jackson know Wright’s father and said more needs to be done to hold officers accountable. “We’re losing too many brothers at the hands of the police,” said Henry, who donned a hat that said, “I can’t breathe,” the words Floyd cried as Chauvin pinned him down. “These cops must be held accountable.”
Jackson said he reached out to the family after seeing Wright’s father, Aubrey, at a news conference. They grew up together.
“I feel sad, not so much angry,” Jackson said. “He just had a kid; now that kid has got to grow up without a father. … I know he would’ve been a good dad.”
Wright was remembered as a young father to Daunte Jr. who enjoyed spending time with family on the Fourth of July. “He was loved. He was ours,” aunt Naisha Wright said last week.
Daunte Wright celebrates the first birthday of his son, Daunte Jr.
‘He did not deserve this’:Family remembers Daunte Wright as an adoring dad who enjoyed playing sports and celebrating the Fourth of July
During protests over Wright’s death, hundreds who convened nightly at the Brooklyn Center police station were met with rubber bullets, tear gas and members of the Minnesota National Guard. The city was under curfew for several nights as police and protesters clashed and dozens were arrested each evening.
Wright’s mother said he called her when he was pulled over April 11. Though police said he was stopped for an expired registration, Wright had an outstanding warrant for possession of a gun without a permit and fleeing an officer, so officers tried to arrest him.
Body camera footage released shortly after his death showed a scuffle in which Wright reentered the driver’s seat of the vehicle. Potter shouted “Taser!” repeatedly but drew her Glock instead. She shot Wright, who drove away, and Potter said, “Holy (expletive), I just shot him.”
Tim Gannon, the Brooklyn Center police chief who resigned, characterized the incident as an “accidental discharge.”
Wright’s family said they can’t accept that account of their son’s death and demanded full accountability for Potter.
How could a gun be mistaken for a Taser? There have been at least 16 incidents of ‘weapon confusion’ since 2001.
Katie Wright said last week “justice” in this case would be impossible because it would mean bringing her son home. “Justice isn’t even a word to me,” she said.
The casket of Daunte Wright is carried into the Shiloh Temple International Ministries on April 22, 2021, in Minneapolis.
Crump said Wright should not have been pulled over in the first place for a minor infraction, such as an expired car registration, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The case has drawn comparisons to that of Mohamed Noor and Justine Ruszczyk Damond. Noor, a Black Minneapolis police officer, fatally shot Damond, a white woman, in 2017 after he said he heard a bang on the side of his squad car and thought Damond was a threat. Noor was convicted of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter and sentenced to 12½ years in prison.
The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office handed Potter’s case over to Washington County Attorney Pete Orput’s office in accordance with an agreement among prosecutors in the Minneapolis area.
“Certain occupations carry an immense responsibility and none more so than a sworn police officer,” Imran Ali, Washington County assistant criminal division chief, said in a statement last week. “We … intend to prove that Officer Potter abrogated her responsibility to protect the public when she used her firearm rather than her taser. Her action caused the unlawful killing of Mr. Wright and she must be held accountable.”
Potter could face up to 10 years in prison if found guilty of second-degree manslaughter.
Contributing: Trevor Hughes in Minneapolis
“This is a critical first step at converting carbon dioxide to oxygen on Mars.”
The process could one day help astronauts breathe on the red planet.
Much larger versions of MOXIE could be used to transform huge quantities of carbon dioxide into oxygen.
The Perseverance rover on Mars continues to perform amazing feats of science.
This week, an instrument aboard Perseverance turned carbon dioxide into oxygen, a process that could one day help astronauts breathe on the red planet.
The Martian atmosphere is 96% carbon dioxide, which doesn’t do much for us humans, who need oxygen to breathe.
“This is a critical first step at converting carbon dioxide to oxygen on Mars,” said NASA’s Jim Reuter in a statement.
The toaster-size, experimental instrument aboard Perseverance that performed the experiment is known as MOXIE, which is an acronym for Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment, according to NASA.
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“MOXIE has more work to do, but the results from this technology demonstration are full of promise as we move toward our goal of one day seeing humans on Mars,” Reuter said. “Oxygen isn’t just the stuff we breathe. Rocket propellant depends on oxygen, and future explorers will depend on producing propellant on Mars to make the trip home.”
NASA technicians lower the MOXIE instrument into the Perseverance rover.
Whether for rockets or astronauts, oxygen is key, said MOXIE’s principal investigator, Michael Hecht of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Haystack Observatory.
MOXIE works by separating oxygen atoms from carbon dioxide molecules, which are made up of one carbon atom and two oxygen atoms, according to NASA. A waste product, carbon monoxide, is emitted into the Martian atmosphere.
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In this first experiment, MOXIE’s oxygen production was quite small – about 5 grams, equal to about 10 minutes’ worth of breathable oxygen for an astronaut, NASA said. MOXIE is designed to generate up to 10 grams of oxygen per hour.
Much larger, better versions of MOXIE could be used to transform huge quantities of carbon dioxide into oxygen.
“MOXIE isn’t just the first instrument to produce oxygen on another world,” NASA’s Trudy Kortes said. “It’s the first technology of its kind that will help future missions ‘live off the land,’ using elements of another world’s environment.”
Protesters and grieving loved ones are asking for answers after a Black man was fatally shot by a deputy in North Carolina. The Senate passed an anti-hate crime bill after increased reports of violence against Asian Americans. And we’re one step closer to having a 51st state.
It’s Julius and Ashley with the news to know.
But first, shopping later, Alligator: A gator was seen casually strolling in the parking lot of a grocery store one evening.
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Protesters ask for details after a North Carolina deputy fatally shoots a Black man
More than a day after a Black man was fatally shot by a North Carolina deputy, protesters and grieving loved ones are waiting for answers as to what happened. Andrew Brown Jr. was shot and killed early Wednesday morning in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, when a deputy served a search warrant at Brown’s home. Demetria Williams, Brown’s neighbor, told the Associated Press she ran outside after hearing a gunshot and then saw the deputy firing multiple times at Brown who she said was driving away. After the shooting, crowds of people called for police to release more details, including body camera footage. “The people of Elizabeth City … they desire a right to know what took place this morning,” City Councilman Darius J. Horton said Wednesday. The deputy who fired the shots has not been named and has been placed on leave.
Protesters gather outside the Pasquotank County
municipal building in North Carolina on Wednesday after at least one sheriff’s deputy shot and killed a Black man while executing a search warrant in Elizabeth City.
Bill to fight hate crimes against Asian Americans passes Senate
The Senate overwhelmingly passed an anti-hate crime bill targeting the increase in violence and discrimination against Asian Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislation, named the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, passed with a 94-1 vote. The bill would accelerate the Justice Department’s review of hate crimes and would designate an official at the department to oversee the effort. Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y., a co-author of the legislation, said at a rally Monday that “we are finally taking action in Congress” after a year that saw increased reports of hate incidents against Asian Americans. The legislation, which underwent numerous bipartisan changes before its passage, will now head to the Democratic-led House.
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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., center, is joined by U.S. Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y., third from left, at a news conference to discuss an Asian American hate crime bill, on April 19, 2021, in New York.
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Got room for one more state?
The Democratic-led House of Representatives again passed legislation Thursday that would make Washington, D.C., the 51st state — something residents and leaders in the nation’s capital have been requesting for decades. But the odds of officially passing aren’t looking great. The Washington, D.C. Admission Act faces slim chances of advancing in the split Senate where it would need Republican support to overcome a legislative hurdle known as the filibuster. Supporters of the legislation argue that statehood for Washington, a city with a large Black population, is a civil rights issue, saying statehood is necessary because the residents are disenfranchised with the lack of representation in Congress. But opponents argue the population size of Washington makes it too small to be a state.
Explainer: The two opinions of D.C. statehood.
India smashes global one-day record for new cases
India is enduring a deadly coronavirus surge. The world’s second-most populous country has set a global one-day record of more than 314,000 new COVID-19 infections, causing its health care system to be critically short of hospital beds and oxygen. A month ago, India was reporting fewer new cases in a week than it is now reporting in a day. India’s total of 15.9 million cases since the pandemic began is second to the United States.
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Arizona’s recount of 2.1 million votes from November’s election begins.
Former NFL QB Alex Smith said coaches were “patronizing” during his comeback from a gruesome leg injury.
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Sexual assaults rise as the Peace Corps fails its volunteers
The Peace Corps is failing to manage the threat of sexual assault against its volunteers, at times placing them in dangerous situations and inflicting further trauma by bungling the response to their assaults, according to a USA TODAY investigation. Although sexual assaults cannot always be prevented, our investigation found examples in which staff at the agency ignored known threats. A dozen Peace Corps volunteers who said they were sexually assaulted while serving between 2016 and 2020 shared their experiences. This is their story.