Minneapolis, MN – Grieving family members impacted by law enforcement killings demanded accountability for police violence on the day before the Kim Potter trial began. A press conference was held Monday morning just blocks away from the Hennepin County Government Center and featured a dozen family members, attorneys, and elected officials.
Watch the live stream of the presser:
Daunte Wright was 20 years old when he was killed in April 2021 during a traffic stop by former Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter. Potter was allowed to resign but is now on trial for manslaughter charges. Jury selection started on November 30 and opening statements are expected to start December 8.
Organized and emceed by Toshira Garraway, founder of the advocacy group Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence, the press conference was held at the Aloft Hotel and centered Daunte Wright. Garraway says her fiancé Justin Teigen was beaten to death by police and left in a recycling bin in 2009. She shared her story with Unicorn Riot two years ago.
Families briefly shared their respective stories while activists and elected officials spoke about how they saw the system cover up police crimes, how they seek accountability and about pushing for legislative change.
“You try to bury these murders but you can’t bury their mothers. Just like anything you try to bury in the dirt, a plant will come up and here you see the fruit standing behind me.“Minnesota State Representative John Thompson (67A)
Katie Wright, Daunte’s mother, was joined by two of Daunte’s siblings. She thanked everyone for their support and said that since she’ll be testifying in the Potter trial she can’t speak much about the case until it’s done.
Wright family attorney Jeff Storms stated that most of the families don’t get as far as Wright’s family has gotten, and never see a “legitimate investigation” or a prosecution in the killing of their loved one. Storms said the Kim Potter trial is an “extraordinary moment” for Minnesota, which has a history of “not holding officers accountable.“
“I think what’s really hard for anyone in the public to grasp is just the deep level of grieving and trauma that continues to pour upon these families when they know there wasn’t at least a legitimate investigation and legitimate attempts towards justice for their loved one. So we are very appreciative but this is only a first step the prosecution, we now need a conviction. And Minnesota is going to be tested with respect to its values and ethics.“Jeff Storms, legal counsel for Daunte Wright family
Other speakers who had lost family members included: Tabetha Williams, mother of 14-year-old Courtney Williams killed by Minneapolis police in 2004; Valerie Castile, mother of Philando Castile killed in 2016 by St. Anthony police; Matilda Smith, mother of Jaffort Smith killed in 2016 by St. Paul police; Del Shea Perry, mother of Hardel Sherrell who died in Beltrami County Jail in 2018; Courtney Ross, the girlfriend of George Floyd and teacher of Daunte Wright at Edison High School; and Terry Watts, the cousin of Emmet Till, a Black youth infamously killed by a white mob of vigilantes in Mississippi in 1955.
“We have to constantly look to our state representatives and our senators to make better laws that will protect everyone equally. Some of these laws, they work for certain people, and then they don’t work for everybody.“Valerie Castile, Philando Castile’s mother
Trahern Crews of Black Lives Matter Minnesota and the uncle of Hardel Sherrell (died in custody in 2018) spoke about the art of police cover-ups and the residual impacts of trauma on families. Crews said a debt is owed to Black Americans in Minnesota where the founders of the state “were connected to slavery” and added that Brooklyn Center was founded by a klansman, Earle Brown.
Minnesota State Representative John Thompson (67A), demanded police be held accountable and held to a higher standard. He said a start for accountability would be for an officer that gets three service complaints to be put on desk duty.
“When are we going to hold law enforcement to a higher standard?“Minnesota State Representative John Thompson (67A)
Follow Unicorn Riot’s coverage of the Kim Potter trial here.
Unicorn Riot's Coverage of Daunte Wright - Killed by Police:
- Kim Potter Trial Landing Page
- Kim Potter Sentenced to 24 Months in Prison for First-Degree Manslaughter - February 18, 2022
- MN Tapped Ohio, Nebraska Cops During Chauvin Trial, Daunte Wright Protests - December 24, 2021
- Community Members Craft Messages of Love for Daunte Wright’s Family Outside the Courthouse - December 14, 2021
- Protest After First Day of Kim Potter Trial Attacked by Car Driver - December 3, 2021
- Families of Loved Ones Killed by Police Demand Justice on Eve of Kim Potter Trial - December 1, 2021
- Daunte Wright’s 21st Birthday Brings Healing and Reflection - November 24, 2021
- Judge Chu Reverses Decision, Will Allow Cameras in Kim Potter Trial - November 12, 2021
- Protest Outside Judge’s Home Calls For Cameras in Courtroom During Kim Potter Trial - November 8, 2021
- Police Break Equipment, Shoot, Beat, and Detain Press - April 20, 2021
- Daunte Wright Protests Continue into Day Seven - April 17, 2021
- The Daunte Wright Shooting: What We Know So Far - April 15, 2021
- Protests Erupt in Brooklyn Center After Police Kill Daunte Wright - April 12, 2021