GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Protesters gathered in Rosa Parks Circle on Friday to call for change following the police killing of Daunte Wright in Minnesota last weekend.
“Daunte Wright was someone’s child, someone’s boyfriend, a friend, and a father,” said Aly Bates, Justice for Black Lives president.
The young, Minneapolis-area man was shot and killed by a Brooklyn Center police officer last Saturday during a traffic stop.
Authorities described it as an accidental discharge that happened as they tried to arrest Wright on an outstanding warrant after pulling him over for expired registration tags. His mother says he called her as the cops stopped him and told her it was because of an air freshener hanging from his rearview mirror.
“You cannot tell me that a woman who has been on the police force longer than I have been alive can’t know the difference between a gun and a taser,” said Bates.
Speakers at Friday’s event voiced frustration and continued calls for police reform, saying the fight won’t stop in the months ahead. Two ideas discussed included ending internal police investigations, instead pushing for independent ones, and ending qualified immunity, which protects officers and other government officials from being held personally liable for misconduct on the job in a lot of circumstances.
“Nobody should have to worry about waking up and just walking the streets,” said one speaker. “Nobody should have to fret when we’re just doing the same thing every American is doing, being that: American.”
Friday’s protest remained peaceful. Grand Rapids police said there were no issues on their end with the demonstration.