The families of Daunte Wright and George Floyd gathered on Tuesday (April 13) for a press conference outside of the Hennepin County Government Center. Both families lost their loved ones to police violence in the state. Twenty-year-old Wright was killed on Sunday (April 11) during a traffic stop reportedly made for expired tags. Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is currently standing trial for Floyd’s murder last May.
Toshira Garraway, founder of Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence also joined the conference.
During the press conference, Wright’s mother, Katie Wright, several of George Floyd’s siblings were joined by friends and relatives along with civil rights attorney Ben Crump. Crump and his co-counsel Jeff Storms are representing both families.
Crump thanked Garraway for fighting for justice even "when media isn't present." Garraway shared that her fiancé was brutalized by Minnesota police in 2009 and accused the department of covering up hundreds of murders carried out by police officers. “Enough is enough. We will stand together in solidarity," the activist said.
Attorney Crump noted that the family members of George Floyd left the courtroom where the trial of Derek Chauvin is currently underway "because they felt it important to comfort Daunte Wright's family."
He noted the fatal incident involving Daunte was "unfathomable" given the weight of the Floyd's death on the community and world.
"When you're driving while Black, people sometimes forget about the memos and initiatives about the realities of life," Crump said, referring to the reason Wright was reportedly pulled over in the first place before discovering a warrant.
The national civil rights attorney called out the officers' intentionality in pulling Wright over, combating police officials' narrative that Kim Potter's actions were "accidental."
"After 26 years, you would think that, you know what side your gun is on and what side your taser is on," Crump said at the conference. "You know the weight of the gun and you know the weight of the taser....it is unacceptable."
"It was intentional that they stopped him. It was intentional that they used the most force. They could've gave him a ticket," Crump said.
"It reminds you of George Floyd, that was a misdemeanor, they could've gave him a ticket for that, but when it's Black people in America, they engage in the most use of force and it ends up with deadly consequences," Crump said.
Attorney Jeff Storms took the podium and reiterated Crump's statements, underling the word used by Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon to describe the deadly shooting of Daunte Wright. "It's not an accident to take your gun out of the holster. It's not an accident to point your gun," Storms said. "Don't tell us it's an accident, because it undermines the tragic loss of life this family has experienced," he added.
George Floyd's Brother Vows to Fight for Justice for Daunte Wright
"The world is traumatized watching another African American man being slain," Philonise Floyd said as he took the podium during the press conference. "Police officers are killing us and we are being murdered at a rate that I never thought I could imagine." The sibling of George Floyd said he was reminded of Oscar Grant's death in 2009 when Oakland, California police officer said they mistaken their gun for their taser and fatally shot Grant. "There wasn't a need to even tase him," Philonise said.
"Daunte Wright...he should still be here... Minneapolis, you all can't sweep this under the rug anymore," Floyd added.
"We're here, and we will fight for justice for this family just like we're fighting for our brother."
"To the protesters all around this nation, stand up," Floyd said. "We need you all to come out, because times like this people need hugs, people need to be getting love," he added.
Several other relatives of George Floyd's family spoke, sending their condolences to Wright's family.
Daunte Wright's Mom Speaks
Daunte's mother, Katie Wright, took the podium, speaking out in her son's death, sharing that she was on the phone with him when the police encounter began. "It's the worst day of my life," she said.
Wright said her son called her after he was being pulled over by police "for having air fresheners hanging from [the] rearview mirror," he told her. He wanted to get insurance information, Katie Wright said, before an officer told him to get out of the car without explanation. "I could hear the police officers scuffling with him," she added during her emotional recounting of the incident. The call ended, she said and stated that she called her son back repeatedly.
"I didn't know what was going on, but I never imagined that this was going to happen. I just thought maybe he was being arrested."
The passenger in his car at the time answered a video call from Katie Wright after a few moments. After the passenger turned the phone around to the driver's side, Katie could see that her son had been shot. "My son was laying there unresponsive. That was the last time I seen my son. That is the last time I heard from my son, and I have had no explanation since then," Katie Wright said.
Chyna Whitaker, the mother of Daunte Wright, Jr., Wright's child, also spoke, sharing that she feels that the officer "stole my son's dad from him." "His dad didn't get to see him for his 2nd birthday or any of his birthdays, and I'm just so messed up about it, because I feel like they stole my son's dad from him."
Daunte's aunt took the microphone, speaking on behalf of Aubery Wright, Daunte's father, beginning her remarks chanting her nephew's name.
"They murdered my nephew. She killed my nephew," Naisha Wright said.
"I watched that video like everyone else watched that video. That woman held that gun out in front of her for a long...time," she continued. "My nephew was 20 years old... I don't care what nobody got to say about him, he was loved, he was ours. He came from us," she added. Her great-nephew, Daunte's child, is fatherless now, "not over a mistake, over murder." She revealed that George Floyd's girlfriend Courteney Ross was a former teacher of Daunte's.
"My nephew's blood is on y'all's hands."
Local Leader Speaks
A representative of the local NAACP chapter took the podium during the press conference while attorneys took questions from media. "We are done dying..." Leslie E. Redmond said. "The same way the mayor put a curfew into place to protect property, we want you all to use that same energy to protect our people."
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