The recurring nightmare of police brutality against black Americans continues to plague the United States after 20-year-old, Daunte Wright, was fatally shot during a traffic stop in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center.
What happened in the Daunte Wright shooting?
Daunte Wright was shot by a Brooklyn Center Police Department officer on Sunday in what has been declared by police chief Tim Gannon as an “accidental discharge”, saying that the officer involved meant to use a taser gun on Wright.
“It appears to me this was an accidental discharge that resulted in the tragic death of Mr Wright,” Gannon said in a press conference on Monday, according to The Independent.
Disturbing footage from the police officer’s bodycam recording do, indeed, show a sequence of events where the officer screams “I’ll Tase you. Taser! Taser! Taser!” while holding what appears to be a firearm.
Wright also leaves behind a one-year-old child.
How has America responded?
Following the vigil, protestors gathered outside of the Brooklyn Center Police Department in a stand-off that prompted the state to mobilise the National Guard and issue a curfew.
Daunte’s death adds further fuel to the fire in the midst of the trial for Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with murdering Floyd. Furthermore, video footage of the arrest of a black Army Medical Corps officer being wrongfully arrested in December has prompted further outrage.
As a consequence of the ever heightening racial tension that is once again sweeping all across the United States, a riot was declared on Monday evening in east Portland, where protesters had been holding their own vigil for Daunte Wright.
In response to this, President Joe Biden has both condemned Wright’s killing, vowing to launch and investigation, and issued a plea for Americans not to allow protests to turn violent, as reported by The Hill.
“I think we’ve got to wait and see what the investigation shows. The entire investigation. You’ve all watched, I assume as I did, the … body cam, which is fairly graphic,” Biden said. “The question is: Was it an accident, was it intentional? That remains to be determined by a full-blown investigation. But in the meantime, I want to make it clear again: There is absolutely no justification, none, for looting. No justification for violence; peaceful protest is understandable.”
The epidemic of police violence continues: Do Black Lives Matter at all?
Now that you have all of the facts, allow me to offer an opinion.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to tell that there’s something deeply wrong here. The killing of Daunte Wright is a tragedy, but Joseph Stalin once said “a single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.”
That’s not to say that millions of black Americans are dying, but the list of tragedies – and I’m just talking about the tragedies that make headlines, the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Michael Brown, Jacob Blake and many other unarmed black Americans whose deaths sparked nationwide outrage – is only growing longer.
And somehow there continues to be disagreement over the fact that this is a systemic problem. The people who do not see that there’s a clear racial bias in law enforcement around the country are merely refusing to see it at this point. People are rightfully outraged. They should be angry, but President Biden has a point – the left needs to restrategise. Not because violent protests are not an inevitable consequence of the widespread injustices that occur on a daily basis, but because violence, rioting and looting are giving the right-wingers who refuse to see reason a strawman.
Roughly once a year, America seems to go through the same cycle of murder, outrage, violence, media campaigns and so forth. And creating awareness at this point is no longer the problem. There’s a group of people who are “too far gone” – you’re never going to convince them. But looting and lighting fire to property is only going to play into the narrative that the problem here is not the police but Antifa or BLM or whoever the boogieman of the week is.
We should be angry. We should be very angry. But we can no longer allow anger to cloud our judgement and continue the cycle where nothing changes. If not, the bodies that each tragedy leaves in its wake will continue to pile up.