Policing in America as it relates to race and racial bias is yet again at the center of the nation’s consciousness following the recent fatal police shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright in Minnesota, just a few miles away from the ongoing murder trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer involved in the death of George Floyd.
In an exclusive interview with theGrio on Wednesday, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris called for “full accountability” in the Chauvin case and weighed in on a growing debate in the shooting of Wright, who was fatally shot by former Brooklyn Center officer Kim Potter, who fired her gun after reportedly mistaking her firearm for a Taser.
On Tuesday, Congresswoman Maxine Waters posted a picture on social media of herself holding up two pictures: one of a Glock 17 typically carried by officers and a Taser. “How could a trained officer make a mistake shooting an unarmed man with a gun instead of a Taser? Hard to believe,” Waters wrote.
“There is a big difference between the two,” Harris told theGrio. “Among the issues is the issue of training and having law enforcement who carry both be very clear about the difference between the two, because as we have seen the consequence can be the loss of life and an unjustifiable loss of life.”
Ironically, Potter was a 26-year veteran on the job who trained younger, less experienced officers.
The vice president echoed public statements she made Tuesday about Wright’s death, saying “he should still be alive today.” Harris also noted that Wright was the father to a young son, stating “that little baby boy of his is without a father … he has a family that loves him.”
Chauvin’s trial is also dominating headlines and the concern over the anticipated verdict is one of the foremost thoughts on President Joe Biden’s mind.
During a two-hour meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus, President Biden raised concern telling the lawmakers that the administration is developing multiple public response scenarios that could ensue from a not guilty verdict in the trial.
The president did not go into details nor mention anything about possible unrest from the trial.
Recently, White House officials have been meeting with Black leaders nationally and locally about different scenarios that could take place in the outcome of the trial. According to sources close to some of the conversations, the White House has signaled it’s very concerned.
Vice President Harris emphasized that regardless of any outcome in the Chauvin trial, American citizens in Minneapolis and throughout the country have the right to use their First Amendment rights, noting that protest is “part of American life.”
“Certainly we want to make sure that the American people call for justice … we all want to know that those calls are met and we need to all be aware that when those calls for justice are not met, people rightly express their First Amendment right to speak out, to assemble and to express their concern, their pain, their disappointment,” said Harris. “As long as it’s peaceful protests.”
Minneapolis and surrounding cities are a tinderbox after Wright’s death. Curfews are being enacted as the National Guard and police confrontations with protesters are taking place with tear gas and flash bangs just miles from the Chauvin trial. The officer who killed Wright, Kim Potter, and Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon have resigned from their posts. On Wednesday, prosecutors handling the case announced second-degree manslaughter charges against Potter.
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SOURCE: the Grio –