Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

ONE DAY left in this Mid-Year Campaign. This is our hour of need.
If you value independent journalism, please support Common Dreams.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Katie Wright, mother of slain unarmed Black man Daunte Wright, speaks during an April 13, 2021 press conference outside the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis—site of the ongoing trial of former officer Derek Chauvin, who is accused of murdering George Floyd, another unarmed Black man. (Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images)

Katie Wright, mother of slain unarmed Black man Daunte Wright, speaks during an April 13, 2021 press conference outside the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis—the site of the ongoing trial of former officer Derek Chauvin, who is accused of murdering George Floyd, another unarmed Black man. (Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images) 

'They Stole My Son's Dad': Families of Daunte Wright and George Floyd Hold Emotional Press Conference

The event took place outside the Minneapolis courthouse where former cop Derek Chauvin is on trial for allegedly murdering Floyd last May. 

Brett Wilkins

Amid the second day of protests over the police killing of Daunte Wright and the continuation of the trial of former Minnesota cop Derek Chauvin—who is accused of murdering George Floyd last May—relatives of the two slain unarmed Black men and their attorney on Tuesday held an emotionally charged press conference outside a downtown Minneapolis courthouse. 

"My nephew was a lovable young man. His smile, oh Lord, the most beautiful smile. Y'all took that. My nephew's blood is on your hands." 
—Naisha Wright, aunt

Standing outside the Hennepin County Government Center—where the defense phase of Chauvin's trial began Tuesday—civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing relatives of both Floyd and Wright, introduced numerous members of both families. 

Katie Wright, Daunte's mother, wept as she recounted how she spoke with her 20-year-old son during a Sunday traffic stop—reportedly over expired plates and air fresheners that blocked his rearview mirror—just moments before he was killed, allegedly by veteran Brooklyn Center, Minnesota police officer Kimberly Potter. 

"I never imagined this was what was going to happen," she said.

Wright said Daunte's girlfriend, who was in the car with him, called her back via FaceTime after he was shot.

"She was crying and screaming and she said that they shot him," said Wright. "Then she pointed the phone toward the driver's seat and my son was laying there, unresponsive. That was the last time I've heard from my son. And I've had no explanation since then."

Chyna Whitaker, the mother of Wright's 2-year-old son, said the boy will never again celebrate a birthday with his father. 

"I feel like they stole my son's dad from him," she lamented. 

Naisha Wright, Daunte's aunt, said that Potter "murdered my nephew." 

"My nephew was a lovable young man," she said. "His smile, oh Lord, the most beautiful smile. Y'all took that."

Wright added, "My nephew's blood is on your hands." She then called for Potter's prosecution. 

"Put her in jail, like they would do any one of us," she said. "They would put us into that jail cell. [It] would be no 'accident.' It would be murder." 

Philonise Floyd, who on Monday testified in the trial of the man accused of killing his brother, said that "the world is traumatized watching another African American man being slain."

Floyd compared Wright—who Potter allegedly killed with a pistol she claimed she thought was her Taser—to Oscar Grant, who was shot dead in 2009 while laying restrained on the ground by a California transit cop who also claimed to confuse his pistol for a stun gun.

"There was no need to even Tase him," Floyd said of both men. 

Crump said that after 26 years—the amount of time Potter was a police officer prior to her resignation Tuesday—"you would think that you know what side your gun is on and what side your Taser is on."

"You would think that you know what side your gun is on and what side your Taser is on."
—Benjamin Crump, attorney

"You know the weight of your gun, and you know the weight of the Taser," argued Crump. "You know the gun is black, you know the Taser is going to have some reflective color on it. And so it is unacceptable."

Also resigning Tuesday was Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon. Commenting on that, Jeff Storms, Crump's co-counsel, said that "you know this isn't just one officer." 

Crump added that "there is an issue that goes beyond policy, and I believe that's implicit bias." 

A third night of protests began Tuesday in Brooklyn Center, Minneapolis, and in cities across the nation.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Just ONE DAY left in our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

As US Rolls Back Reproductive Rights, Sierra Leone Moves to Decriminalize Abortion

"I'm hopeful today's announcement gives activists in the U.S., and especially Black women given the shared history, a restored faith that change is possible and progress can be made."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Indefensible': Outrage as New Reporting Shines Light on Biden Deal With McConnell

The president has reportedly agreed to nominate an anti-abortion Republican to a lifetime judgeship. In exchange, McConnell has vowed to stop blocking two Biden picks for term-limited U.S. attorney posts.

Jake Johnson ·


Assange Makes Final Appeal Against US Extradition

"If Julian Assange is not free, neither are we," said a protester at a Friday demonstration against the WikiLeaks founder's impending transfer. "None of us is free."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Payoff for 40 Years of Dark Money': Supreme Court Delivers for Corporate America

"It was the conservative court's larger agenda to gut the regulatory state and decimate executive powers to protect Americans' health and safety," warned one expert.

Jake Johnson ·


NARAL Pro-Choice Endorses Fetterman—Who Vows to End Senate Filibuster to Protect Abortion Rights

"We know we can count on him to boldly fight for abortion rights and access," said the head of one of the nation's largest reproductive rights advocacy groups.

Jon Queally ·

Common Dreams Logo