Calls for quick release of bodycam footage in police killing of Daunte Wright

The ACLU-MN is among the groups calling for full transparency.
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A 2018 picture of Daunte Wright.

A 2018 picture of Daunte Wright.

The American Civil-Liberties Union is calling for an independent investigation into the fatal police shooting of Daunte Wright, and a quick release of officer bodycam footage.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) is investigating the Sunday afternoon shooting that killed the 20-year-old, but the ACLU-Minnesota says it wants an outside agency other than the BCA to handle the probe.

And with Brooklyn Center PD saying it "believes" that both body-worn cameras and dash cameras were activated during the incident, the ACLU wants any footage obtained from them to be released without delay.

"The ACLU of Minnesota calls for an immediate, transparent and independent investigation by an outside agency other than the Brooklyn Center Police or the BCA, and for the quick release of any body-cam footage," the ACLU said. "We call for the naming of all officers and agencies involved.

While we are waiting to learn more, we must reiterate that police violence and killings of people of color must end, as must the over-policing and racial profiling that are endemic to our white supremacist system of policing."

Wright's mother, Katie Wright, claims her son called her as he was being pulled over, and said police were doing so because he had an air freshener dangling from his rear-view mirror.

While this is yet to be confirmed, the ACLU says ut has "deep concerns" if this turns out to be the case, saying police using "dangling air fresheners" as a pretext for a traffic stop is "something police do all too often to target Black people."

Wright's death has once again sparked calls for sweeping, structural changes to law enforcement in the Twin Cities, changes that have ultimately not been forthcoming in the wake of George Floyd's death in Minneapolis last May.

Minneapolis City Councilor Philippe Cunningham, whose ward in North Minneapolis borders Brooklyn Center, is among those leading the call for the replacement of Minneapolis PD with a new public safety department, and says the problems with law enforcement aren't confined to his city.

"Brooklyn Center PD has dropped off people in my Ward after they’re arrested often miles from their homes without their shoes or phones," he tweeted. "This system isn’t reformable - if we are all to be safe, it has to be fundamentally transformed."

St. Paul City Councilor Mitra Jalali said: "The community members demanding answers about his death at the hands of law enforcement have a right to protest. Police reforms aren’t happening fast enough to save lives or spare our community levels of relentless anguish each time this happen."

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Sen. Omar Fateh, who represents south Minneapolis in the Minnesota Senate, said that while he's awaiting more details about Wright's shooting, he's "outraged and appalled" that another Black man has died at the hands of police in Minnesota.

"Here in Minnesota, we have lived the last year under the shadow of darkness cast by the murder of George Floyd. Now we find ourselves in the global spotlight shone on the trial for that same murder. Still we refuse to commit ourselves to change," he said.

"I’ve said this in the past. I’ve said it on the Senate floor: until we fundamentally upend and change the system, this needless state murder of Minnesotans, especially black and brown Minnesotans, is going to keep happening again and again and again and again.

"The police do not have the right to carry out capital punishment against members of our community, our neighbors, disproportionately black and brown people. And people should be extended the grace to get scared around police or respond imperfectly without being killed for it."

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