Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison will lead the investigation into the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright, a Black motorist who was shot and killed in Brooklyn Center by a white officer, Kim Potter, at the height of racial tension surrounding the Derek Chauvin murder trial.
Activists have pushed for either an independent prosecutor or Ellison’s office to overtake the investigation after the conviction of Chauvin, a case Ellison spearheaded as attorney general.
The case was first assigned to Washington County Attorney Peter Orput over Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman. Prior to Ellison’s office overseeing the case, demonstrators protested outside of Orput’s home in an effort to see Potter prosecuted on an elevated charge of murder. Potter was indicted on second-degree manslaughter and will stand trial in December.
Wright was shot and killed on April 11, 2021 during a traffic stop. His death continued the heartbreaking narrative of Black community members who were murdered during interactions with law enforcement. Further anger ignited around Wright’s case after law enforcement officials dismissed his death as a mistake, alleging that Potter confused her gun for a taser during the encounter.
“Daunte Wright was a son, a brother, a father, a friend,” Ellison said in a statement Friday. “When he died, he was only 20 years old. He had his whole life ahead of him.”
“I did not seek this prosecution and do not accept it lightly. I have had, and continue to have, confidence in how both County Attorney Orput and County Attorney Freeman have handled this case to date. I thank County Attorney Orput for the solid work he and his office have done, and I thank County Attorney Freeman once again for his confidence in my office. I appreciate their partnership as my office takes the lead on this case,” Ellison continued.
The case’s transfer to Elliott’s office elicited a positive response from Brooklyn Center city leadership who also initially backed Ellison’s overseeing of the case.
“Ellison and his team successfully convicted Derek Chauvin to the fullest degree in the landmark George Floyd murder trial,” Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliot said according to the Minnesota Reformer. “I wanted to see this same level of prosecution in Daunte’s case. His family, friends and our community deserve it.”
Freeman’s office is expected to provide staffing to Ellison’s prosecution team. It is unclear whether Ellison’s team will upgrade Potter’s charges at the urging of demonstrators, Wright’s family and supporters.
Rest In Peace: Daunte Wright Is Laid To Rest After Moving Funeral In Minneapolis
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"My son should be burying me," Daunte Wright's mother breaks down in tears at her son's funeral.— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 22, 2021
"My son had a smile that was worth a million dollars. When he walked in the room, he lit up the room ... He was loved by so many. He's going to be so missed." pic.twitter.com/DFkV1t9xqU
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"I love my little brother to death," Daunte Wright's older brother Dallas speaks at his brother's funeral service.— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 22, 2021
"He was the life of the party. Anyone knows, if you heard his laugh...it's contagious. I am going to miss this man so much because he was literally my best friend." pic.twitter.com/hOpLynBso4
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Crowd cheers in support as Daunte Wright's father struggles to find the words at his son's funeral: "Words can't even explain how I feel right now. That was my son." pic.twitter.com/JLSo85QByj— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 22, 2021
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.@TheRevAl hits Trump at Daunte Wright’s funeral: ’It’s a Bible of justice … I know y’all had a president that holds it upside down, but turn it right side up, 'cause if you turn it rightside up, and you get to the end of the book … God will take care of his children’ pic.twitter.com/TCctnxMC2N— NowThis (@nowthisnews) April 22, 2021
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Sen. Amy Klobuchar gets emotional while speaking at Daunte Wright’s funeral: ‘When we think about what could possibly fill this hole Daunte left in the world, we come up empty. Instead, we come up with a much bigger hole where justice should be’ pic.twitter.com/KU1WnRXaBn— NowThis (@nowthisnews) April 22, 2021
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Watch this artist paint a live tribute to Daunte Wright at the 20-year-old’s funeral, set to the music of trumpeter Keyon Harrold pic.twitter.com/7BjdyqgmWj— NowThis (@nowthisnews) April 22, 2021
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Ben Crump at Daunte Wright’s funeral: ‘How did Officer Potter see Daunte Wright? But more importantly, how does America see our children? Because if she saw your child, Katie, like she saw her child, then I don’t think she would have even reached for a Taser, much less a gun’ pic.twitter.com/WETHPFxIS0— NowThis (@nowthisnews) April 22, 2021
8. Rev. Al Sharpton arrivesSource:Getty 8 of 37
9. Courteney Ross, George Floyd's girlfriend, arrivesSource:Getty 9 of 37
10. Katie Wright, Daunte Wright's mother, arrivesSource:Getty 10 of 37
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12. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz attends funeralSource:Getty 12 of 37
13. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison attends funeralSource:Getty 13 of 37
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15. Rev. Al Sharpton and Daunte Wright's brother Damik Bryant arriveSource:Getty 15 of 37
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#DaunteWright funeral packed. It’s 12:30 and folks are still filing in. Gospel choir: “Before I’ll be a slave, I’ll be buried in my grave, and go on to my Lord and be free.” pic.twitter.com/of4IIJtiJI— Molly Hennessy-Fiske (@mollyhf) April 22, 2021
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As Daunte Wright funeral gets underway in Minneapolis people continue to gather at the Brooklyn Center intersection where he died, the growing memorial includes a clenched fist statue like the one at George Floyd Square @wcco will update pic.twitter.com/IQbbfrpKTR— esme murphy (@esmemurphy) April 22, 2021