Wanted for dodging a gun offense, he recklessly menaced a cop’s life while trying to escape
Brooklyn Center, Minnesota officer Kim Potter has been convicted for first and second degree manslaughter for mistakenly shooting Daunte Wright.
Cheers arose from outside the court house from a crowd that sported a “black lives matter” poster, as if Wright was an innocent victim and a symbol of how cops murder black men.
But how much do you read about how Wright brought it all on himself? Practically nothing.
So here’s the record:
Wright was pulled over in a standard traffic stop for two violations–an expired registration tab and an object hanging from his rear view mirror, obstructing his view. As he should have been. The rest of us cough up money every year for our license plates; why shouldn’t he?
When his background was checked–standard procedure for every traffic stop for everyone and not just black drivers–it was discovered that he had an outstanding warrant for a weapons charge–carrying a handgun in a public place without a state permit. In other words, he was a wanted man.
As required for everyone with an outstanding warrant for dodging a court appearance, he was arrested. Or at least the police tried to. While police were trying to cuff him, he jumped back in the car and tried to drive off. With an officer hanging out of the window. Never mind that the officer could have been seriously injured or killed.
From the passenger side of the car, Porter sees the look of fear on the officer’s face as he tries to extract himself, but Wright, behind the wheel, kept trying to speed off. She reaches for her gun, mistakenly thinking it’s her taser. “Taser, taser, taser,” she shouts as her training taught her. She fires once, striking Wright in the chest. Nonetheless, off he speeds, covering several blocks before he crashes his car into a vehicle.
(I wonder if Porter would have been charged with manslaughter if she had intentionally drawn her gun and fired. After all, with a cop hanging out the car window while Wright sped away, would’t she had been legally and morally justified in using deadly force? Just wondering.)
(Oh, and where are the advocates for stricter gun control? After all, Porter allegedly had been illegally carrying a gun, becoming a threat to the community. Don’t they have something to say about the scourge of too many guns on the streets?)
(Here I’ll be accused of “blaming the victim,” but there was more than one victim here.)
I don’t question this jury’s decision. But the truth is that Wright was guilty in his own right: He violated the law, he was legally stopped and arrested and he tried to flee, endangering an officer of the law.
We’re supposed to ignore all that? We’re supposed to forget that police officers are people too, with families who would mourn their loss? We’re supposed to forget that police officers followed the book, stopping Wright, not because he was “driving while black,” but because he had violated two laws and then dangerously resisted arrest for being a wanted man?
So, yes, Wright’s death is a tragedy, for him, for his family and friends and certainly for Potter too. But none of this would have happened if not for Wright.Type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.