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Loved ones and civil rights leaders mourn Daunte Wright at funeral

Emotional funeral honors Daunte Wright
Emotional funeral honors Daunte Wright 02:06

Prayers, spiritual hymns and emotional remarks from Daunte Wright's loved ones and supporters filled the sanctuary at Shiloh Temple International Ministries as his funeral was held Thursday in Minneapolis. Wright was shot and killed by a police officer during a traffic stop last week in nearby Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.

"Daunte Wright's life mattered," attorney Ben Crump said, directing guests to repeat the phrase multiple times during the service. "We have to fight for our children... because our children need to know how much we believe in them, how much we believe in their future. Because they do have a right to life and liberty and their American dream, and that is the plea for justice."

Attendees included family members of Emmett Till, Oscar Grant, Philando Castile, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. Governor Tim Walz, Representative Ilhan Omar, Senator Amy Klobuchar and Senator Tina Smith also attended, among hundreds of others who largely wore red and black.

"The roles should completely be reversed," Daunte's mother, Katie Wright, said. "My son should be burying me."

She described him as a "jokester" who was "loved by so many." She said that her son had a smile "worth a million dollars" that lit up when he walked into a room.

"He always said he couldn't wait to make his son proud," she said, referring to Daunte's young son, Daunte Wright Jr. "And now he's not going to be able to see him."

Daunte Wright's parents speak at funeral 02:46

Former Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter has been charged with second-degree manslaughter in the April 11 death of Wright. Potter was released from jail after posting a $100,000 bond and has resigned from her position after 26 years on the job. The police chief also resigned.

Police said Wright was pulled over for having expired tags; his mother said he called from the car and said he was stopped over an air freshener hanging from his rearview mirror, which is illegal in the state of Minnesota. During the stop, officers found that the 20-year-old had an outstanding warrant. As police tried to cuff him, Wright got back into his car. The former police chief said Potter thought she grabbed her Taser, but instead pulled her pistol, then fired the fatal shot.

Police officers in uniform were asked to not attend the funeral on Thursday, CBS Minnesota reporter Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield said. 

Reverend Al Sharpton referenced in his eulogy the air freshener in Wright's car as a symbol for change.

"We come today as the air fresheners for Minnesota," he said. "We're trying to get the state of police brutality out of the atmosphere. We're trying to get the stench of racism out of the atmosphere. We're trying to get the stench of racial profiling out of the atmosphere." 

Sharpton called for police reform and changes to federal legislation, while referencing the Bible and the long history of racism in America. He referred to Wright as the "Prince of Brooklyn Center" who is on his way to rest. 

"The time has come for police to understand they're not above the law," Sharpton said. "Every crisis must be answered with real change."

Representative Omar gifted Wright's parents a flag that was flown over the U.S. Capitol, and read part of a resolution of congressional condolences.

US-JUSTICE-POLICE-RACE-WRIGHT
Representative Ilhan Omar consoles Daunte Wright's parents, Katie and Aubrey Wright, as she presents them with a flag that flew at the U.S. Capitol in honor of their son, during Daunte Wright's funeral in Minneapolis on April 22, 2021. CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images

Governor Walz held a moment of silence for Wright at 12 p.m. local time, and also expressed his condolences for the Wright family at the funeral. 

"While nothing will bring Daunte Wright back to his loved ones, we must continue to enact real meaningful change at the local, state, and national levels to fight systemic racism, so that every single person in Minnesota, Black, Indigenous, Brown, and White, can be safe and thrive," Walz read at the service. 

Senator Klobuchar emphasized the importance of passing a police reform bill called the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which would outlaw certain policing techniques and strengthen legal tools for holding officers accountable. 

"We cannot confuse accountability for justice because true justice is not done as long as having expired tags means losing your life during a traffic stop," Klobuchar said. "True justice is not done as long as a chokehold and knee on the neck or a no-knock warrant is considered legitimate policing. True justice is not done as long as Black Americans are killed by law enforcement at more than twice the rate of White Americans."

Wright's funeral was held two days after a guilty verdict was reached in the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd, who was killed in the city last May. The verdict was read in a courthouse ringed with concrete barriers and razor wire and patrolled by the National Guard, as the community was on edge over both the trial and Wright's killing.

Potter is scheduled to make her next court appearance on May 17.

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