Daunte Wright’s funeral is held in Minneapolis

A US police officer faces manslaughter charges for shooting Wright on April 11 not far from where George Floyd was killed last May.

Katie Wright, the mother of Daunte Wright, touches her son in a coffin during a viewing service, after he was shot and killed by Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kim Potter, at his public viewing at Shiloh Temple International Ministries in Minneapolis, Minnesota, US [Octavio Jones/Reuters]
Katie Wright, the mother of Daunte Wright, touches her son in a coffin during a viewing service, after he was shot and killed by Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kim Potter, at his public viewing at Shiloh Temple International Ministries in Minneapolis, Minnesota, US [Octavio Jones/Reuters]

Minneapolis, Minnesota – At the Shiloh Temple church in North Minneapolis, the sunshine contrasted with a mourning crowd.

The US midwestern city Minneapolis is holding the funeral of Daunte Wright after a week of victories for the city’s growing civil rights movement.

Wright, 20, a Black man, was killed by former Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kim Potter on April 11, in Brooklyn Center, a Minneapolis suburb. Potter is white.

Body-worn camera footage from Potter appears to show the 26-year veteran confuse her gun for a Taser during a tumultuous traffic stop. She has been charged with manslaughter in Wright’s death.

Jack Stoulil, a lifelong resident of Minneapolis sitting outside the Shiloh Temple told Al Jazeera he came to pay respects to Daunte Wright [Creede Newton/Al Jazeera]
Armed members of the Minneapolis Peace Keepers, a group that works with the city to de-escalate protests, are patrolling the area around the church where Daunte Wright’s funeral is being held [Creede Newton/Al Jazeera]

Wright’s funeral began after many attendees were led inside the Shiloh Temple church.

A member of the church addressed media after family and friends entered.

“Thank you for not letting another Black body die without reporting it”, the man who gave his name as Jay the Gardener, said.

“We’re standing here for accountability. That’s it.”

Community members set up stations to distribute food, signs and sell Black Lives Matter merchandise along Broadway Avenue, the street on which the church is found.

Organisers handed out red armbands for Wright’s family.

Daunte Wright’s image outside the Shiloh Temple Church as his funeral commenced [Creede Newton/Al Jazeera]

Other than the hum of generators for media crews, the crowd was silent.

Jack Stoulil, a lifelong resident of Minneapolis sitting outside the church with a sign with Daunte’s name, told Al Jazeera he came to pay respects to Wright.

“He stopped for a minor traffic infraction and paid with his life. It’s intolerable that should not happen. I’m sad that it is and that’s why I’m here.”

Civil rights leader Reverend Al Sharpton was set to eulogise Wright, telling the story of a young man loved by friends and family, less than a year after he did the same for George Floyd.

A court found former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin guilty of second- and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter on Tuesday in the death of Floyd, a Black man.

Chauvin, who is white, knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes after an arrest for the use of an allegedly counterfeit $20 bill. The Minneapolis police had initially said Floyd “died after a medical incident during police interaction”.

Darnella Frazier, then 17, videoed the May 25 incident on her phone and posted it on social media – which set off protests and the eventual charges against Chauvin and three other Minneapolis police officers. The other three are scheduled to be tried in August for aiding and abetting Chauvin.

“I think that we are in a very serious moment of real opportunity to deal with the issue of police reform,” Sharpton told MSNBC on Thursday morning.

The city expected mass protests before the Chauvin verdict, but the mood quickly turned to celebration when the guilty rulings were read out – a feeling that has remained in Minneapolis’s cold air.

Reverend Al Sharpton arrives with family and friends of Daunte Wright to attend his public viewing at Shiloh Temple International Ministries in Minneapolis, Minnesota, US [Octavio Jones/Reuters]

The climate has calmed but saddened. Mourners visited Shiloh Temple on Wednesday during Wright’s wake. His body lay in an open coffin, covered in red roses.

Floyd’s family are to attend the funeral on Thursday.

Jaylani Hussein, the executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN), told Al Jazeera on Wednesday he worried the verdicts against Chauvin would put people into a “relaxed” state.

Hussein, who has become a leader of the local movement for police accountability and equal treatment under the law, appeared at two news conferences on Thursday. He asked the crowds of roughly three dozen to keep up the pressure on the criminal justice system.

“The clock is ticking for someone in our community, we just don’t know who,” Hussein said at the second news conference in front of the Hennepin County Government Center, where Chauvin was convicted.

“The police will kill someone else in our communities.”

Source: Al Jazeera

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