The theme after the conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for last year’s killing of George Floyd should be accountability, not just justice. Police in this country for far too long have not been held accountable for their unwarranted killings in the line of duty. The Chauvin verdict is certainly cause for relief and even somber elation, for it is a step in the right direction. However, there is more work to be done.
Frustrating enough we certainly do not have to look very far for the next similar type of situation that demands the same treatment as the case of George Floyd. Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old father, was shot and killed by police during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, on April 11, in the midst of the Chauvin trial.
It is certainly some sort of sick irony that the events of April 11 transpired not more than 10 miles from where the Chauvin trial took place. It is the perfect microcosm of the feelings of frustration and disgust for the situation in this country that has almost felt routine at this point.
The shooting occurred after Wright was pulled over for driving with expired registration tags. The officers told Wright that he was under arrest for an outstanding warrant. Wright re-entered his car as one officer threatened to tase him, while holding their service weapon. The police stated the killing appeared to be accidental, and the officer, Kim Potter, had meant to use her taser and not her handgun, according to BBC. Potter had been arrested and faces a charge of second-degree manslaughter, according to the New York Times.
It is dumbfounding that an active, trained officer who is trusted to carry a weapon can mistake her gun for a taser. Mistakes like this should never be made by police officers in the line of duty, especially when it causes more innocent people to be killed.
The importance of the Chauvin trial should definitely not be downplayed, but it should not be lost on anyone that the future we all want is a long way away and it still requires all of our energy and attention.