MINNEAPOLIS — Katie Wright leaned over and embraced her son’s body lying in the casket before straightening to turn and step back, tears streaming down her face.
On one side stood the Rev. Jesse Jackson. On the other, the Rev. Al Sharpton.
Between them lay Daunte Wright, 20, a Black man shot dead by police in nearby Brooklyn Center on April 11. Wright’s death ignited a new round of anger in a community still reeling from the death of George Floyd last year.
Wright’s death came amidst the murder trial of the now-fired white police officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes. A jury on Tuesday convicted that former officer, Derek Chauvin, of murder charges, and the Black community in Minneapolis celebrated Tuesday night with a raucous rally outside the courthouse. Wednesday afternoon, they renewed their mourning for Wright.
“It’s sad, man, especially right after the verdicts of the trial, that we have to go right into another moment like this,” said Trahern Pollard of the Minneapolis-based anti-violence group We Push For Peace. “The reality is there’s a 20-year-old kid laying in that casket right now and it could have totally been avoided.”
The officer accused of killing Wright, Kim Potter, was a 26-year veteran who police officials said accidentally drew her handgun instead of a Taser. She and the police chief both resigned almost immediately. Potter, who is white, has been charged with second-degree manslaughter, and is scheduled for a court appearance Thursday, the same day as Wright’s funeral.
Wright’s family did not speak to reporters at the viewing.
Sharpton is set to give the eulogy during the funeral. Addressing mourners on Wednesday, Sharpton promised he and other national civil rights leaders would seek justice for Wright’s family, including his 2-year-old son. He also said Wright’s parents, Katie and Aubrey, were celebrating their wedding anniversary on Wednesday.
“You brought hate into their family and we’re going to run it out and get them justice,” he said. “We’ve got to give them a wedding gift of justice.”