Vera Institute of Justice Issues Statement on the Killing of Daunte Wright

Brooklyn Center, Minnesota police killed Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, during a traffic stop on Sunday. Wright was killed just ten miles from where former police officer Derek Chauvin is on trial for the murder of George Floyd, in the town adjacent to the one where Philando Castile was shot and killed nearly five years ago. These incidents are unjust, traumatic reminders of the systemic dehumanization and criminalization of Black and brown people in the United States.

Traffic stops are the most common type of contact between police and the public and have little to do with improving road safety or preventing dangerous driving. An analysis of nearly 100 million stops across the nation found that decisions about whom to stop and search are biased against Black and Latinx drivers. Police reform is long overdue. Tangible measures like creating unarmed, non-police traffic response teams, installing automated speeding cameras, limiting enforcement of minor violations, and taking other policy actions to restrict law enforcement’s ability to conduct traffic stops would better protect the lives of Black and brown people from over-policing, racial profiling, excessive force, and police violence.

We call on Minnesota government leaders to conduct an immediate and independent investigation of all officers involved in Wright’s death. As we mourn the loss of Wright’s life, we remain committed to our work to transform the criminal legal system until it is fair for all.

About the Vera Institute of Justice:

Vera is powered by hundreds of advocates, researchers, and community organizers working to transform the criminal legal and immigration systems until they’re fair for all. Founded in 1961 to advocate for alternatives to money bail in New York City, Vera is now a national organization that partners with impacted communities and government leaders for change. We develop just, antiracist solutions so that money doesn’t determine freedom; fewer people are in jails, prisons, and immigration detention; and everyone in the system is treated with dignity.