One of the most disturbing outgrowths of the Black Lives Matter movement which formed around the death of George Floyd: is the deification of an imperfect man. Respectful, but honest examination of the case of Daunte Wright must be made to stop the BLM/media effect from being repeated, before we deify yet another imperfect man.
Many Sat By Silently And Watched BLM Deify George Floyd
As murals, ad hoc memorials and indeed even some government sponsored art projects have depicted Floyd since his tragic death as a martyr to a cause at least and potentially a deific figure by adherents to BLM verging on fanaticism is pretty indisputable.
This deification of George Floyd is the creepiest shit… https://t.co/RVYBIys9p3
— Cody Baier (@LordShmeckie) September 23, 2020
That being said: when confronted with the shooting death of 20 year old Duante Wright and the subsequent and rapidly growing violent riots that have resulted it is important that we strive to remove the mysticism being bestowed upon those unfortunately killed due to police action, those action being correct, moral or lawful aside. Many of those who have been lifted up by the Black Lives Matter movement were killed either as a result of or in the very commission of crimes with almost all resisting arrest. This was true of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and now Duante Wright.
The Niagara Falls Reporter had the courage to point out this serious moral hazard as early as June, 2020. They wrote,
“I think it is reasonable to give voice to those who think his memorial, or at times seemingly near deification [as a martyr] may be excessive. There were other martyrs, some of them far braver. George Floyd, though a tragic victim, was never once known for any brave act. In fact his life seems to have been one of a series of cowardly acts.
This is not to impugn a dead man, or diminish his pain, but it is entirely maudlin and false to misrepresent him as a hero. He was not a saint. That society can use his victimization to improve police behavior and the public’s relationship with police is a happy accident that arose out of the tragic death of a poor, sick, and benighted victim.”
Who Was Daunte Wright?
An Imperfect Man, Not a Martyr or a Hero
Mr. Wright was 20 years old, a student of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities in Minneapolis, a father of a 2 year old child with his girlfriend who was in the car with him at the time of his death. According to independent journalist Andy Ngô, “He was wanted on a warrant when he attempted to flee by car. He was shot & drove a distance before crashing into others…There was a warrant for his arrest. He resisted arrest & got back in the vehicle & tried to speed off. He nearly killed others during the failed escape.”
According to The New York Times, the warrant against Wright was for failure to appear for his court via Zoom call. He had a pending court hearing on two misdemeanor charges — first for illegal possession of a Ruger .45 pistol without a permit and also for fleeing police officers last summer.
It has been widely reported and Body camera footage confirms that Wright was tragically killed while attempting to flee from police when Officer Kim Potter allegedly mistaking her sidearm for her TAZER fired once into his chest. Daunte started the vehicle and sped away only to crash moments later as he died of the gunshot wound.
A Tragic Conclusion, Don’t Deify Him
Wright’s death was tragic, unnecessary and avoidable. This analysis offers no justification for his death, as there isn’t any. His actions were wrong in that he failed to appear to answer previous charges, exacerbated, ultimately to his death by the fact that he resisted arrest and attempted to flee police. None of these actions justified his death. Officer Potters actions, either as the result of inadequate training, stress or otherwise must be thoroughly investigated and she must be tried in a court of law, not a court of the press or of the riotous mob. Officer Potter and the Wright family deserve justice. Further injustices that stem from mobs fit to deify Duante will only add to greater injustice.
It’s nuanced, it’s gray, it doesn’t make anybody feel better, but that’s the truth, and that’s life.
Update: #DaunteWright was in the process of getting arrested by @BPPD for a weapons charge & escaping police before he was killed yesterday, sparking #BLM race rioting & looting. The criminal complaint says he had an illegal Ruger .45 pistol. He skipped his court date this month. pic.twitter.com/dI4zScGLo5
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) April 12, 2021