Sharpton eulogizes Daunte Wright: ‘Tags of racism’ have expired


Civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton on Thursday delivered an impassioned eulogy for Daunte Wright, the 20-year-old Black man shot and killed by police during a traffic stop whose death stoked renewed calls for police reform.

Speaking at a church in north Minneapolis, near the suburb where Wright was killed by a white officer two weekends ago, Sharpton evoked a biblical verse from the Book of Isaiah, stating that peace cannot exist without justice.

“They tell our young folks to [not] go to the streets and march when marching and protest is a way of correcting injustice,” Sharpton told the capacity crowd at Shiloh Temple International Ministries.

“You can’t go to church on Sunday and read this book that we call the Bible and not fight against oppression.”

In the past year, Minneapolis has become synonymous with the continuing fight for racial justice in the U.S.

Wright was killed in the suburb of Brooklyn Center, just miles away from where former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was standing trial for the murder of George Floyd.

The police killing of Floyd last Memorial Day was a main catalyst of the Black Lives Matter movement’s resurgence in 2020, prompting nationwide protests demanding an end to police brutality and systemic racism.

Chauvin on Tuesday was convicted of two murder counts and a count of manslaughter in the death of Floyd.

Sharpton said the wave of police testimony against Chauvin during his trial was a sign of progress in the country.

“God has turned the page in the state of Minnesota, and we’re never going back,” the reverend said. “That’s why I know change is here, when you see the blue wall of silence tumble in a courtroom in Minneapolis.”

Prominent figures from the state’s congressional delegation were present at the funeral service Thursday, including Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D) and Tina Smith (D) and progressive Rep. Ilhan Omar (D), whose district encompasses Brooklyn Center and much of Minneapolis.

Gov. Tim Walz (D) and state Attorney General Keith Ellison (D), who led the prosecution of Chauvin, were also present.

Klobuchar and Omar both spoke, with Omar presenting the American flag that was flown over the Capitol after Wright’s death and Klobucher urging the Senate to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which passed the House in March.

“We must do more, because for too long changes come inch by inch when we should be miles ahead,” Klobuchar said. “It is time for [the Senate] to move forward on police reform and pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.”

Wright was initially pulled over for an expired license tag, though when he called his mother to ask for insurance information, Wright said he had been pulled over because air fresheners were hanging from his rearview mirror.

Police attempted to take Wright into custody after an outstanding misdemeanor warrant was discovered. An officer tried to handcuff him, but Wright twisted away, getting back into his car.

Kim Potter, the officer who killed Wright, can be heard in body camera footage warning that she was going to tase him. However, instead of tasering Wright, she shot him, fatally wounding him.

Wright drove a short distance before crashing. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Potter has since resigned from the force and is currently facing a second-degree manslaughter charge.

“The time has come for America to stand up and bring a new day to where we don’t have to explain to our children what to do when the police stop you,” Sharpton said, referring to what’s known in the Black community as “the talk.”

“I come to Minnesota to tell you,” the reverend said towards the end of his speech, “your tags of racism have expired, your tags of police brutality have expired, your tags of white supremacy have expired.”

Tags Al Sharpton Amy Klobuchar Daunte Wright Daunte Wright shooting Ilhan Omar Keith Ellison Tim Walz Tina Smith
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