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Located at 63rd and Kathrene Drive in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota is the memorial of Daunte Wright. Wright loved being a father to his young son and playing basketball. On April 11, 2021, Wright was shot and killed by Officer Kim Potter when she deployed her pistol instead of her taser. Not even a year after the death of George Floyd, and only fourteen miles away, Wright's death was another tragedy that revealed the prevalence of police brutality. His legacy lives on through his memorial site as well as through those fighting for justice.

Brooklyn Park, MN Memorial

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Los Angeles, CA Memorial

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Located at the intersection of 63rd and Kathrene Drive in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota is the memorial Daunte Wright. A large wooden monument of a fist sits high above the items placed below it. This monument, designed by Jordan Powell-Karis, was originally seen at George Floyd Square at the intersection of East 38th Street and Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis, not too far away from the memorial of Wright (Hovland, 2021). The original prototype was redone in steel and dedicated to George Floyd Square on Martin Luther King Jr Day to honor Black Power. The original monument made of plywood was put into storage after this dedication. When Powell-Karis became aware of Wright's death, he contacted the caretaker of the sculpture and they agreed to have the fist moved and dedicated to Wright. The fist is a representation of the Black Lives Matter Movement and the fight against racially motivated violence. Candles, cards, posters, balloons, flowers, basketballs, and portraits are just some of the other items that can be seen around the sculpture. His memorial site allows people to grieve and begin the process of healing, all while remembering the prevalent issue of police brutality that we face.

Voted class clown in high school, Daunte Wright was known as the person that could cheer everyone up with his beaming smile and funny jokes. At the age of nine, Wright’s family moved to Minnesota from Wisconsin. The transition was hard for him and as a result, he ended up having problems in school. He attended three schools including Edison, Patrick Henry, and Stadium View High Schools. Finding out he was going to become a father at nineteen years old, Wright began to work several jobs to save up for his unborn child. Wright had a deep passion for the sport of basketball and dreamed of teaching his son how to play one day. Wright would never have the chance to make this dream a reality.

Around 2 p.m. on April 11, 2021, Wright was pulled over by a Brooklyn Center police officer for expired tags on his vehicle at the intersection of 63rd Avenue North and Orchard Avenue. Wright was under the impression that the reason for the stop was for an air freshener hanging from the rearview mirror, which is illegal in the state of Minnesota. After approaching the vehicle, the officer ran his name and retrieved Wright’s record. The officer discovered an active warrant was out for his arrest. The warrant was issued after Wright failed to appear in court. The original charge was for carrying a pistol without a permit and fleeing police (Kaul & Gustavo, 2021). With three officers now present on the scene, they attempted to arrest Wright and handcuff him. Wright managed to make it back into the driver’s seat and attempted to drive away. According to the bodycam footage, Officer Kim Potter drew her gun and stated “I’ll tase him." As Wright is in the driver’s seat, Officer Potter yells “taser, taser, taser” before she fires a shot that hits Wright in the chest. After firing the shot, she stated “Holy sh*t, I just shot him.” Wright’s vehicle rolled a couple blocks away and hit another vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

After Daunte Wright's death and the police bodycam footage was released, citizen outrage and protests ensued around the country. Citizens of Minneapolis, as well as supporters of the #BlackLivesMatter Movement, could not seem to make sense of Officer Potter’s actions. Many believed it was a mistake while others believed Wright was a victim of a racially motivated crime. According to the BBC, tasers differ from guns in that they weigh significantly less, are brighter in color, and have no safety on them. Officers also carry their guns and tasers on opposite sides of their belts. Whether her actions are due to lack of consistent training or pure evil, it is no question that Wright fell victim to police brutality when his stop was considered routine. Officer Kim Potter's memory played a large role in this incident, as a small memory lapse ended in a fatality. Officer Kim Potter was charged with first and second-degree manslaughter, according to the Minnesota Post.

Although Wright’s largest memorial lies in Brooklyn Center, other temporary sites were made shortly after his death. The first site is located in Los Angeles, California at Sunset Boulevard and Vine Street. Daunte Wright and Adam Toledo are the individuals commemorated. Adam Toledo, a thirteen-year-old Latino American boy, was killed by law enforcement in March of 2021 (Howe & Boyle, 2021). Toledo was carrying a firearm when he was approached by Chicago police. When he dropped it to comply with the officer’s orders, he was shot and killed. As a result of the two deaths, the community came together to memorialize the two and bring attention to the extent of police brutality. This site was vandalized on April 15. Caught on video, the individuals responsible blew out the candles and knocked them onto the concrete below (Batchelor, 2021). The second temporary memorial site was located in George Floyd Square in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This was a smaller memorial but it commemorated George Floyd and Daunte Wright together, as their deaths happened within fourteen miles of each other. The collection of memorials commemorating Wright, Toledo, and Floyd's deaths emphasize the problems the world currently faces with discrimination and police brutality. Even though police brutality against Black individuals is not new, the recent and brutal deaths of those we have come to know well have brought attention to this large problem that has profound impacts.

Memory and controversy play a large part in Daunte Wright's story. His memorial in Brooklyn Center serves as his legacy living on, but the controversy lies within the actions of law enforcement and public opinion. As more deaths related to police brutality happen as we speak, the fight continues to bring justice to Wright’s family and the families that have lost loved ones. Police brutality against Black individuals has always existed and will continue to do so until proper action is taken. In all, Wright's memory will continue to live on through the memories of his friends and family, as well as through the proactive actions of those pushing for change.

Bassett, Mary T.. A history of US police violence. , vol. 397, no. 10289. Published May 29th, 2021.

“Daunte Wright Memorial,” George Floyd & Anti-Racist Street Art, accessed October 6, 2021,

Daunte Wright shooting: How can you mistake a gun for a Taser?, BBC News. April 15th 2021. Accessed October 6th 2021.

Hovland, Ben. Iconic fist sculpture from George Floyd Square rises in Brooklyn Center, where police killed Daunte Wright., Sahan Journal. April 13th 2021. Accessed November 28th 2021.

Kaul, Greta . ‘I just shot him’: What we now know about the killing of Daunte Wright by a Brooklyn Center police officer, MinnPost. April 16th 2021. Accessed October 6th 2021. .

Sullivan, Becky. Officer Who Fatally Shot Daunte Wright With 'Accidental Discharge' Is Identified, NPR. April 12th 2021. Accessed October 6th 2021. .

Wheeler, Jefferson. January 18th 2021. Accessed December 6th 2021.

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