Guest Commentary: ACLU Responds to Shooting of Daunte Wright

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By Paige Fernandez

Daunte Wright should be alive today. Taking a step back to listen to the circumstances surrounding Daunte Wright’s killing hammers home the heartbreaking truth that we’ve known for so long — Black people living in America are subject to having their lives violently ripped away from them and the ones they love at the hands of our government for absolutely nothing.

Daunte Wright now joins a long list of Black people whose lives were snatched from them as they attempted to simply live — Breonna Taylor as she slept in her home, George Floyd outside a convenience store, Eric Garner outside of a neighborhood bodega, Botham Jean as he ate ice cream on his living room couch, Tamir Rice as he played in the park.

Reprehensible acts of police violence like this will be commonplace so long as police continue to serve their original purpose — to act as an occupying force and mechanism for social control in Black communities.

Police still exist to uphold white supremacy and have been empowered by laws and the courts to inject themselves into Black life for any reason, no matter how minor, even a dangling air freshener.

It is apparent there is no legal reform or departmental policy change that will alter this dichotomy and no amount of training that will prevent situations like this from happening.

Throwing more money at police departments has never resulted in an end to the killing of community members who police purport to serve, but in reality, just harm.

It is clear that the only way to end the scourge of police violence is to immediately divest from policing institutions that, from their inception, have been used to oppress Black people.

Instead, we must reinvest in Black and Brown communities that have for so long borne the brunt of these horrific acts of violence.

It is time to end the criminal enforcement of low-level offenses. You don’t reform police — you remove their responsibilities and reallocate taxpayer money into harm-reducing solutions. It is now far past time for tangible action to avoid killings like that of Daunte Wright.”

While we are waiting to learn more, the ACLU echoes the ACLU of Minnesota’s calls for an immediate, transparent, and independent investigation by an outside agency other than the Brooklyn Center Police or the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, and the quick release of any bodycam footage.

We also call for the naming of all officers and agencies involved.

Paige Fernandez is Policing Policy Advocate with ACLU Justice Division


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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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8 thoughts on “Guest Commentary: ACLU Responds to Shooting of Daunte Wright”

  1. Ron Oertel

    Reprehensible acts of police violence like this will be commonplace so long as police continue to serve their original purpose — to act as an occupying force and mechanism for social control in Black communities.

    It is clear that the only way to end the scourge of police violence is to immediately divest from policing institutions that, from their inception, have been used to oppress Black people.

    Maybe so.  Just get rid of them, in communities that don’t want them.  I don’t think that anyone outside of those communities would object (in regard to the impact on their own lives, at least).

    Maybe some inside would object, though.  Probably folks you don’t hear from, much. 🙂

    1. Ron Oertel

      And sure – try this, too:

      You don’t reform police — you remove their responsibilities and reallocate taxpayer money into harm-reducing solutions.

      Maybe that will put a stop to the 15,500 murders and unknown number of assaults and other crimes that occurred in 2018, the last year for which I checked.  (Which are no doubt more “represented” by those communities, and have absolutely nothing to do with the police – except that there would likely be more without them.)

      Same thing they’ve been talking about/attempting for decades.

      On a more cynical level, ever watch “Escape from New York”? (Vague recollection of it.)

      1. Eric Gelber

        By “those communities” I assume you mean Black communities rather than communities that have high rates of poverty and unemployment, poorer schools, fewer resources, neglected infrastructure, and that otherwise experience the effects of past and ongoing societal racism.

        1. Ron Oertel

          You need not assume anything, as I’ve quoted what the article says:

           to act as an occupying force and mechanism for social control in Black communities.

          Yes – it has all of those things that you list.  So, the suggestion (which is the same one recommended in the article) is sincere.  Defund the police, and use the money saved to do exactly what is suggested in the article.

          But, I doubt that others (outside of those communities) are going to fix all of those problems for them.  Just a fiscal/human reality. What I suspect would occur (instead) is closer to an “Escape from New York” scenario. That’s usually what happens when you depend upon others (e.g., government) to fix problems for you.

          And ultimately (sad to say), I don’t think enough folks outside of those communities actually care much, one way or another. And half (just guessing) of those outside of those communities “blame” those in the communities for the situation, themselves.

           

        2. Eric Gelber

          I doubt that others (outside of those communities) are going to fix all of those problems for them.  Just a fiscal/human reality.

          So, you would place the burden of addressing these issues on those who have been subjected to such neglect and overt maltreatment rather than on the government that has the fiscal resources and responsibility for addressing such systemic issues. You refer to Black communities as “them.” Black communities are not them; they are us.

        3. Ron Oertel

          So, you would place the burden of addressing these issues on those who have been subjected to such neglect and overt maltreatment rather than on the government that has the fiscal resources and responsibility for addressing such systemic issues.

          “I” am not advocating anything of the sort.

          But defunding the police is probably not going to free-up a significant amount of funds, compared to that laundry-list of problems you presented.

          You refer to Black communities as “them.” Black communities are not them; they are us.

          I did not refer to black people as “them”.  “Them” refers to people, while communities are a “place”. But, I can see the confusion, as “them” in this case refers to people who live in those communities.

          So in that sense, “others” (outside of those communities) are not going to fix problems for “them” (inside of those communities).

          Nor do all black people live in such communities. So, if they’re outside of those communities, they are not “them”.

          Communities across the U.S. are vastly different from each other.  As a result, communities which are not impacted by those problems may not be motivated to allocate significant resources for other communities, which they may already view as “failed” communities.

           

           

        4. Eric Gelber

           … communities which are not impacted by those problems may not be motivated to allocate significant resources for other communities, which they may already view as “failed” communities.

          Again, when it comes to impacts of societal neglect and systemic racism, Black communities are not “other communities.”

          There are things that can be done locally to improve things. But, ultimately, we all bear responsibility for perpetuating the conditions that resulted in the current state of affairs and, therefore, for remedying these societal problems, whether we are directly impacted or not.

        5. Ron Oertel

          But in the meantime, maybe they ought to try what is suggested in this article.  Sort of like a pull-out of Iraq.

          Or, maybe like what Bodie / the Old West used to be. Resulting in frontier justice, perhaps.

          Actually, it seems like some of those communities aren’t so different than that, now.  Except that they have better weapons.  So, why not get rid of the sheriff and maybe open a community center or something.  That’s probably about as far as those funds will stretch.  🙂

          My fifth comment, and a cynical one at that.

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