April 15, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 15, 2021
Keli Young, firstname.lastname@example.org
Nick Encalada-Malinowski, email@example.com
VOCAL-NY STATEMENT ON THE POLICE SHOOTING OF DAUNTE WRIGHT
NEW YORK — Following news that Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, was shot and killed by former officer Kim Potter during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, VOCAL-NY released the following statement, which can be attributed to Keli Young, Civil Rights Campaign Coordinator with VOCAL-NY:
“Officer Potter’s resignation and prosecution is necessary, but it is not justice. Police Chief Tim Gannon’s resignation is necessary, but it is not justice. This is not a matter of ‘bad apples,’ but of a legacy of systemic terror targeting Black people, made legitimate through the creation of a police force. This is about the billions of dollars propping up racist institutions that fail to keep people safe. This cannot be trained or reformed away.
Analyses about the differences between tasers and guns are meaningless in a situation that required neither. Arguments about whether or not Daunte Wright should have run or resisted ignore the reality that there is nothing a Black person can do to ensure their safety in the presence of police. They ignore the reality that resisting is not grounds for execution. They ignore the reality that just this year we’ve seen plenty of examples of police apprehending white people without killing them.
As city budget cycles begin in New York and elsewhere, and calls to defund the police heighten, opponents to the movement raise concerns about public safety. However, this conversation cannot be had, at least not in any meaningful way, without an understanding and acknowledgment of police violence against Black people in this country. For many, their public safety is in jeopardy every time police show up.
Justice requires that those in power acknowledge the true scope and horror of the problem and realign the government accordingly. Justice requires the removal of institutions that were designed and continue to ravage Black, Brown, and low-income communities. Justice requires an outpouring of resources into those same communities. Justice requires solutions.”
Policing in the US has always been and continues to be a threat to Black people, who are three times more likely to be shot and killed by police than their white counterparts. The killing of Daunte Wright by former Brooklyn Center, MN police officer, Kim Potter is the latest (although shootings by police go under- and unreported every day) in an impossibly long list of Black people killed by law enforcement. The shooting, which took place not even 10 miles away from where Derek Chauvin is being tried for killing George Floyd last summer, has been framed as an accident. Potter yells “taser, taser, taser” as she discharges her gun and kills Wright.
Advocates have long been calling for the removal of police from traffic stops. As cities throughout this country drown under the weight of homelessness, substance use, mental health issues, police continue to respond with overcriminalization and incarceration. Instead of expanding the budget, power, and presence of police, cities should solve these problems with housing and services that have been proven effective. Read more about alternative responses and investments in VOCAL-NY’s Caring and Compassionate New Deal.