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.
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"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."
"My nephew was a lovable young man. His smile, oh Lord, the most beautiful smile. Y'all took that": Aunt of Daunte Wright breaks down in tears as she speaks to reporters. pic.twitter.com/zPsHSQ0bMQ
— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 13, 2021
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."