Former President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama on Tuesday responded to the killing of 20-year-old Daunte Wright with a call to “reimagine policing” in America, noting with some incredulity that Wright’s needless death came as jurors heard arguments in the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd barely 10 miles away.
“Our hearts are heavy over yet another shooting of a Black man, Daunte Wright, at the hands of police,” the two said in a written statement.
“The fact that this could happen even as the city of Minneapolis is going through the trial of Derek Chauvin and reliving 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 alongside the Wright family for their loss,” the statement 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.”
The Obamas closed with a call to action, directing readers to connect with advocacy groups and find resources on trauma and mental health on the “Anguish and Action” page on their website.
Wright was shot and killed during a traffic stop outside Minneapolis Sunday afternoon in an incident Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon says was accidental.
According to Gannon, officer Kimberly Potter intended to deploy her stun gun; instead, she mistakenly discharged her firearm, killing Wright with a single gunshot to the chest.
Protests erupted in the area Sunday night as angry demonstrators expressed outrage over unjustified use of police force against Black people with deadly consequences.