No apologies: 5 things that need to be said about the death of Daunte Wright

1. Daunte Wright should not have lost his life this week. It was a tragic and inexcusable mistake by police. The traffic violation, the warrant for his arrest, even fleeing police should not have resulted in death.  

2. It had nothing to do with race. It’s hard to believe this even has to be said after watching the bodycam video of the shooting, but most of our leaders are ignoring the video and sticking with the original narrative about “another black man shot down by police.” An officer mistaking her gun for her taser is a tragic mistake, but it has nothing to do with race. “Leaders” like Gov. Tim Walz do the state a disservice by stubbornly sticking with the race narrative in the face of the facts.

3. Police reforms will not change the fact that criminal activity and policing are dangerous occupations. Walz immediately used the Wright death to criticize his political opponents for not having hearings on police reform at the Capitol. First, the legislature passed a comprehensive package of police reforms last summer that are still being implemented. Second, the most talked about reform of the session has to do with banning police officers with “ties” to white supremacist groups from getting licensed. This is based on a report from the Minnesota Justice Research Center that cites three instances of what they claim are examples of an “epidemic of white supremacists in police departments” in Minnesota.

  • In 2016 a Rochester police officer was accused of posting anti-muslim memes on Facebook. He was suspended for 10 days and had to undergo racial sensitivity training.
  • Two Minneapolis police officers were fired in 2014 for using racial epithets and obscenities during a confrontation with a group of black men in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
  • A Burnsville police officer resigned in 2017 after admitting he exchanged racially insensitive text messages with a high school friend.

That’s it. Three data points to prove Minnesota has an “epidemic of white supremacy” in our police force. According to House author Rep. Cedrick Fraser (DFL-New Hope), the remedy is to allow the police licensing board to “root out individuals who would have such affiliations or beliefs.” Bureaucrats combing through old Facebook posts trying to determine an applicant’s beliefs. What could go wrong? And by the way, how will this “reform” prevent a cop in the future from mistaking their handgun for their taser?

4. If you comply with police orders, your chance of getting hurt or killed is virtually zero.  Duante Wright should not have resisted arrest and tried to flee the scene. Compliance with the officers’ requests would have resulted in detention for his outstanding warrant and a future court date. The same might be true for George Floyd. If Floyd had simply complied with officers’ requests to get in the squad car, he might have received the medical attention he needed in time to save his life. Political leaders and activists who ignore these facts and focus entirely on the police reaction add to the false narrative that police in Minnesota unfairly target minorities.

5. The rioters were not peacefully protesting the last two nights. The sooner Gov. Walz and other leaders understand this the better. This week has been a trial run for civil unrest as we await the verdict in the Derek Chauvin case. Walz talked tough in a Monday press conference about arresting anyone who violated his 7:00 pm curfew. “You will be arrested. You will be charged. And there will be consequences for those actions.”

But only 40 people were arrested among the thousands out looting and rioting hours after his curfew. As he likes to say, the eyes of the world are on Minnesota. Unfortunately, Walz’s weak response will not be lost on some of those watching.

If you set a curfew for 7:00 pm and don’t enforce it, it’s not really a curfew.