MJA extends its condolences and shared sense of loss to the family of Daunte Wright who was shot by a Brooklyn Center police officer on Sunday evening. Yet, again, we find ourselves at the crossroads of tragedy and injustice in what appears to be another avoidable death at the hands of the police.
We have few words, and no answers, but as an organization, we are here to support our community and any individual who wants to connect in this difficult time.
While it is true that we must vigilantly sound our voices in a call for justice, it is essential that we do so in peace, as Daunte’s mother requested.
Change is long overdue. The mere fact that an officer could “accidentally” take the life of another human requires dramatic change in our system. We support community efforts to re-examine police response to non-threatening conduct.
May Daunte’s memory be a blessing and may justice prevail in his memory.
In the midst of the Chauvin trial, which is adding trauma to communities still mourning the death of George Floyd, our hearts break once again at the news of another police killing.
Yesterday, police in Brooklyn Center shot and killed 20-year-old Daunte Wright during a traffic stop.
Daunte’s family, friends, and community members gathered to grieve his death, and protestors joined to raise their voices against state violence. As a crowd gathered by the Brooklyn Center police department headquarters, police responded with escalation, firing tear gas and flash bangs in spite of the fact they were in a residential area surrounded by apartment buildings home to families and children.
The fact that this took place in Brooklyn Center is meaningful. Brooklyn Center, which borders North Minneapolis, has one of the most significant Black populations of any Minnesota city. Many residents are African immigrants and refugees, while others moved there after being priced out of the Northside.
We’ve been partners with African Career Education Resource and the Black Immigrant Collective organizing for antiracist housing policies in Brooklyn Center, and have seen how displacement and police violence intersect.
Let’s be clear: this will not stop happening until we fundamentally transform our system of policing, which was built upon violence against Black and brown people.
Many claim that such a transformation would be “radical”. But it is not radical to demand a system of public safety that doesn’t kill Black people. It is not radical to demand a system of public safety that holds people accountable, and is proven to prevent violence. It would be a radical departure from our values as Jews and Minnesotans to fight for anything less.
At JCA, we believe that this transformation starts with honest and challenging conversations about public safety and policing within our communities. If you would like to be a part of those discussions, click here.
But in the end, there is one simple truth: Daunte Wright should be alive. George Floyd should be alive. Philando Castile should be alive. Jamar Clark should be alive.
זיכרונם לברכה | May their memories be a blessing. And may we do the work to ensure that not another person is lost to police violence.
“We are once again grieving the death of a black man in Minnesota who was shot and killed by police. Our hearts are with the family and friends of Daunte Wright as well as every person of color who has to explain to their children why their community is continuously targeted and victimized.
We are committed to moving beyond the hopelessness and helplessness we feel from the endless cycle of trauma – and toward meaningful action for change.
Affirming dignity, sanctity, and fairness for all of humanity are at the core of our Jewish faith. It is imperative that we ensure that all of us, particularly those most impacted by hatred and violence, are protected and cared for equally.
Our hearts are with our Muslim family today, especially our Black Muslim family, as they begin their monthlong observance of Ramadan. We pray for their safety, and we pray that the Ramadan teachings of compassion and mercy guide all of us – now more than ever.
Steve Hunegs, executive director of the JCRC, issued the following statement:
“We join Minnesotans grieving the death of Daunte Wright, yet another Black Minnesotan killed by police. Wright, a 20-year-old father, should still be alive today and the officer must be held accountable. We offer our deepest sympathies to the family of Daunte Wright during this unimaginable time. We offer our support to the broader African American community, including Black Jews and Jews of color.
“We echo St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter who lamented [Monday] afternoon: ‘There’s probably no such thing as being made whole for what they lost, for who they lost, for the future they lost, for the future we all lost yesterday, for the potential we all lost yesterday. But if we’re going to do something and I would say, we have to do something, it’s committing ourselves to letting his name be the last one on our list.’
“Together with my friend Judge (Ret.) LaJune Lange, we ‘demand justice for Daunte Wright and call on policymakers at the local, state, and federal level to make police reform and accountability an immediate priority as part of the systemic change that needs to occur so Minnesotans, particularly Minnesotans of color, do not have to fear that they will be killed in a police encounter.’
“Wright’s killing by a Brooklyn Center police officer comes as community members are still grieving the death of George Floyd, and are suffering immense stress and trauma during the murder trial of fired Minneapolis Police office Derek Chauvin.
“With regard to balancing peaceful protest and public safety, we appreciate remarks [Monday] from Mayor Carter, Governor Tim Walz, Mayor Jacob Frey, and Commissioner John Harrington supporting passionate demonstrations and calls for change while making clear that chaos and destruction will not be tolerated.
“Finally, we note that tonight’s curfew in Hennepin, Ramsey, Anoka, and Dakota counties conflicts with the first night of Ramadan. We appreciate that an exemption for religious services was granted to enable our Muslim neighbors to observe this most sacred time as a community.”
AJC mourns the death of Daunte Wright, yet another Black American whose encounter with police ended in tragedy. Clearly, an in-depth review of the officer’s conduct and training is required. Death should be the least likely outcome of such interactions with those whose job it is to serve and protect, yet we continue to see it all too often.