JLI’s Statement on Brooklyn Center Police’s Killing of Daunte Wright

Gabrielle Maginn, Hannah Stephan, and the JLI Editorial Board

Black Lives Matter. Daunte Wright was a father, a son, and a member of our Twin Cities community. On April 11th, 2021, a White Brooklyn Center police officer killed Daunte, a Black man. The loss of the life of our 20-year-old neighbor is a tragedy. The Minnesota Journal of Law & Inequality recognizes that the impacts of Daunte’s killing have wide implications in the context of our city and our country’s racist institutions, but we also hold space for the pain and loss that Daunte’s friends, family, and community are feeling as they process the senseless killing of a loved one.

JLI recognizes that Daunte’s killing at the hands of police comes as the world watches the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for killing George Floyd, not even a year ago, only 25 minutes from where Daunte Wright was killed. This compounding of trauma for Black Minnesotans, along with the ongoing reality of police violence in daily life, cannot be understated. These tragedies are not mere accidents, but reflections of a legal system that, by design, creates and reinforces White supremacy. The traffic stop that resulted in Daunte Wright’s killing by the Brooklyn Center police on Sunday is an example of how policing punishes Black, Indigenous, and community members of color, particularly young Black men, for minor infractions. Policing as it is currently practiced in the Twin Cities and in the United States is a deeply racist institution, which does little to make people safer, and all too often has devastating consequences both for individuals and communities.

JLI firmly believes that Black Lives Matter. We encourage law students and community members who are feeling angry and disheartened by the lack of progress in enacting important changes to policing and the legal system as a whole to listen to and amplify the voices of Black people, and other community members, working hard for change. These organizations include the Legal Rights Center, National Lawyers Guild, Black Visions, Reclaim the Block, MPD 150, Sahan Journal, and Racial Justice Network. JLI would also like to highlight organizations centering mutual aid efforts for the most impacted members of our community, which include ISAIAH, Women for Political Change, Twin Cities Mutual Aid Project, and Take Action MN. People who have questions about their legal rights during protest are encouraged to contact the Legal Rights Center at (612) 444-2654.