MINNEAPOLIS — Daunte Wright was remembered as a “jokester” and loving family man at a packed funeral Thursday — 11 days after he w
MINNEAPOLIS — Daunte Wright was remembered as a “jokester” and loving family man at a packed funeral Thursday — 11 days after he was shot dead by a white cop who said she accidentally grabbed her gun instead of her Taser.
“My son had a smile that was worth a million dollars. When he walked in the room, he lit up the room,” his mother, Katie Wright, said in a tearful address to mourners.
“Daunte was a man. From the first day I met him,” his uncle, Bobby Wright, told those gathered, also speaking through tears.
“I love you. I love you Daunte and we will see you again,” he said.
Standing at the church podium to praise Wright and call for an end to racism and police brutality were Minnesota’s governor, the state’s two senators, and its attorney general; Minneapolis was represented by its mayor.
The families of high profile police slay victims George Floyd, Philando Castile, Eric Garner and Breonna Taylor were also there.
“Why did this happen?” Pastor Carmen Means of the Shiloh Temple International Ministries in Minneapolis told mourners of the question she said was on everyone’s mind.
“But the beauty and the audacity of faith is trusting a God we cannot understand.”
Emotion was high Thursday afternoon at the church, where about 1,000 mourners — some in tears and many in red, Wright’s favorite color — gathered in hopes of getting inside.
Progressive “Squad” lawmaker Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), noted that she and Wright were alumni of the same Minneapolis high school; she wept at the podium as she read aloud a House proclamation in his honor, vowing, “his legacy will live forever.”
Klobuchar (D-Minn) joined with the Rev. Al Sharpton in calling for the Senate to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which passed in the House last month.
“We have to change the status quo so that driving while black does not result in being shot,” said Klobuchar, whose voice broke as she spoke of Wright.
“He won’t be there for his son’s second birthday or his high school graduation,” she lamented, telling the receptive crowd, “Racism is not isolated in this country — it is endemic.”
She added, “True justice is not done when black Americans are killed at more than twice the rate as white Americans.”
Also attending were a throng of press and, outside, 20 assault rifle-toting Minnesota Freedom Fighters, a self-described security unit that has patrolled at previous demonstrations.
In an obituary printed in the funeral program, Wright was remembered as a “jokester” who was most himself when around his loved ones.
“Daunte was taken from his family and friends too soon and leaves a hole in their heart that will never be filled,” the obituary said.
In a rousing eulogy, Sharpton called Wright a second fallen “prince” of Minneapolis, the city where the performer Prince called home until his death there in 2016.
“We came from all over the county because you hurt one of our princes,” Sharpton said.
Crump led the church in a chant of “Daunte Wright’s life matters!”
He also led a round of applause for a rousing performance by Keyon Harrold, the jazz trumpeter who interceded when the so-called “Soho Karen” tried to tackle his 14-year-old son at a Soho hotel in December.
Crump urged those listening “to fight for our children … until hell freezes over — and then we’ll have to fight on the ice.”
Wright, 20, was resisting arrest but unarmed when he was shot during an April 11 traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, a working-class suburb 10 miles north of Minneapolis.
The father of a 2-year-old boy, he’d been pulled over for the most minor of offenses, an expired registration on his license plate, police officials said.
But cops then discovered he had an outstanding warrant related to an open armed robbery case. Wright was shot as he struggled to get back in his car as cops tried to cuff him.
“Taser! Taser! Taser!” Officer Kim Potter can be heard saying on police bodycam footage moments before the single shot from the gun she’d grabbed instead rings out.
“Oh s–t! I just shot him,” the 26-year police veteran says as the dying man’s car lurches out of the picture. He was pronounced dead where he crashed several blocks away.
Wright’s funeral comes two days after guilty verdicts were handed down in the Floyd police murder case in nearby Minneapolis.
Both racially charged cases — the unarmed suspects were black, the killer cops were white — have fed into angry and sometimes violent protests against police racism and brutality.
On Wednesday, hundreds turned out for the open-casket funeral of Wright, who family members recalled had spent months in a hospital intensive care unit when his son was born prematurely.
Brooklyn Center’s police chief has said of the shooting, “This was an accidental discharge.” He has since resigned.
Potter also has resigned from the police department; she has been charged with second-degree manslaughter and has yet to enter a plea. She remains free on $100,000 bail pending trial.
The prosecutor has vowed to “do everything I can to get a conviction” in the legally tricky case.
Wright will be buried in Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis.