PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Speakers at a vigil at Salmon Street Fountain in downtown Portland set a somber tone Monday night as they reflected on the death of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man killed by a police officer during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.
Many were angry, as they thought about the Black men in their own families.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen if my dad, my nephew, my brother, my son is going to walk out of the house, are they coming home and that’s bad,” said Kiykiy, who did not provide a last name.
Leah Hartzell was one of several speakers who pleaded with spectators to finally take a stand against police brutality.
“I definitely believe in defunding and the abolition of police – the money, the funds, they should go to these people, the communities,” she said.
A direct action demonstration is expected to begin at Laurelhurst Park at 6 p.m. with a march around 8 p.m. Organizers promoted the event on Twitter and want “no streamers, no megaphones, no peace police.”
Wright died Sunday in a metropolitan area that was already on edge because of the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former white Minneapolis police officer charged with murdering George Floyd.
The police chief in Brooklyn Center, a Minneapolis suburb, said Monday that he believes the officer who fired intended to use a Taser, not a handgun.
Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon described the shooting as “an accidental discharge.” The state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension was investigating.
Gannon said at a news conference that the officer made a mistake, and he released body camera footage from the officer who fired. The footage showed three officers around a stopped car. When another officer attempts to handcuff Wright, a struggle ensues. The officer is heard shouting “Taser!” several times before firing her weapon.
After firing a single shot from her handgun, the car speeds away, and the officer is heard saying, “Holy (expletive)! I shot him.”
“This was an accidental discharge that resulted in a tragic death of Mr. Wright,” the chief said.