Dec 24, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Activists focus on systemic change after verdict in Daunte Wright death

A photo of a fist.

A demonstrator honors Daunte Wright on a bracelet outside the courthouse in Minneapolis. Photo: Christian Monterrosa/Associated Press

Eight months after throngs of people filled a downtown Minneapolis plaza ahead of the Derek Chauvin verdict, a noticeably smaller group gathered to hear the fate of former police officer Kim Potter, who was found guilty of manslaughter in Daunte Wright's death Thursday.

The bottom line: Many across the trial-weary Twin Cities had checked out for Christmas.

Three days of deliberation, coupled with a late Tuesday question that signaled a lack of consensus, raised expectations for a hung jury.

  • When the verdict came, it surprised people on both sides of the debate. A group huddled outside the courthouse broke into jubilant cheers and chants of "Guilty! Guilty!"

Wright's mother, Katie, said into a megaphone: "Today we have gotten accountability. And that is what we've been asking for since the beginning."

What's next: Politicians and activists pushing for police reform after Wright's death celebrated the verdict, but said the focus should remain on systemic change.

  • Mike Elliott — mayor of Brooklyn Center, the suburb where Daunte Wright was killed — said: "We must all fully commit ourselves to creating a city where everyone can thrive, safe from police violence."

Go deeper: What the judge will weigh in sentencing Potter (AP)

Go deeper