The Brooklyn Center, Minnesota Police Department is under scrutiny after the recent shooting and death of twenty-year-old Daunte Wright. Wright, a Black man, was
killed on April 11th after he was pulled over for having a tail light out. The shooter, 48-year-old police officer Kim Potter, was placed on administrative leave and later resigned on April 13th. A day later, Potter was charged with second degree manslaughter.
Less than two weeks later, on April 20th, the nation grieved for another family. Ma’Khia Bryant, a 16-year-old Black girl, contacted the Columbus, Ohio police for help in a civil dispute. After exiting her foster home with a knife in hand, she was shot four times by officer Nicholas Reardon of the Columbus police department.
While there are complexities and nuances to both of these situations, social media has become outraged at the deaths of more young Black people, especially during the trial of Derek Chauvin, who was found guilty of murdering George Floyd on April 20th. A number of GoFundMe campaigns and bail funds have been established to aid in the legal and funeral funds for the Wright and Bryant families. A number of people have bought diapers and toys for Wright’s one-year-old son,
Daunte Jr.. Supporters have showed up, both online and in real life, for the friends and families of the victims.
Black deaths at the hands of police is not just a coincidence. According to a 2015 study done by NYU’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Black Americans are 2.8 times more likely to die due to lethal enforcement at the hands of police. Additionally, Black Americans were found to be unarmed more than any other ethnic
group that was studied.
With the large discussion that is being had around police brutality, systemic racism, and hate crimes, there is a glimmer of hope shining through: studies have found
that more people are becoming aware and advocates for social change in the midst of these discussions. The Pew Research Center found that 23% of surveyed individuals have changed their stances on these issues, with many citing the Black Lives Matter and Stop Asian Hate movements as catalysts. America is changing at
the hands of racial justice. What happens next?
Sources: CNN, Pew Research Center, John Jay College