UPDATE (1:10 p.m.): Daunte Wright’s funeral opened with trumpeter Keyon Harrold playing a rendition of “Amazing Grace” and “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” often referred to as the Black national anthem.
While Harrold played, artist Ange Hillz also painted Wright’s portrait with white paint on black canvas at the service. Hillz executed similar portraits of George Floyd at his funeral and of Breonna Taylor.
Wright died last week after being shot during a traffic stop in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center.
Ben Crump, attorney for the Floyd and Wright families, led the assembled mourners in chanting, “Daunte Wright’s life mattered!” He also praised Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who led the team that prosecuted former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in Floyd’s death.
Funeral For #DaunteWright: Civil rights attorney Ben Crump led all those in attendance in chanting: “Daunte Wright’s life mattered!”
— WCCO – CBS Minnesota (@WCCO) April 22, 2021
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — Daunte Wright, the 20-year-old Black man fatally shot by a white police officer earlier this month in Brooklyn Center, will be laid to rest Thursday afternoon, just two days after a former Minneapolis police officer was convicted of murder in the death of George Floyd.
Wright’s funeral was scheduled to start at noon at Shiloh Temple in north Minneapolis. The Rev. Al Sharpton is set to deliver the eulogy. WCCO-TV is streaming the funeral live on CBSN Minnesota.
As Daunte Wright funeral gets underway in Minneapolis people continue to gather at the Brooklyn Center intersection where he died, the growing memorial includes a clenched fist statue like the one at George Floyd Square @wcco will update pic.twitter.com/IQbbfrpKTR
— esme murphy (@esmemurphy) April 22, 2021
Hundreds of people turned out Wednesday for the public viewing of Wright, a father of one shot by a police officer on April 11 during a traffic stop in the suburb just north of Minneapolis.
Friends and family members wept as they stood before Wright’s open casket, which was blanketed with red roses. All who viewed the open casket on Wednesday saw the young man dressed in a jean jacket bedazzled with several red and green gem-like buttons on both sides of the lapels.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump spoke, vowing to help get justice for Wright’s family.
“We’re standing here making a solemn pledge. Katie and Aubrey and to all the Wright family…you won’t be fighting alone,” Crump said.
An obituary handed out at the memorial recalled Wright’s love of Fourth of July fireworks, the “lemon head” nickname bestowed by an aunt and the months he spent in a hospital intensive care unit when his son was born prematurely.
Join me in holding a two-minute moment of silence today at noon to honor Daunte Wright’s life.
Nothing can bring Daunte back to his loves ones. But we will continue working to enact meaningful, lasting police accountability and reform.
— Governor Tim Walz (@GovTimWalz) April 22, 2021
George Floyd’s family plans to attend Wright’s funeral services. Wright’s killing came amid increasing tension during the trial of Derek Chauvin, the white former Minneapolis police officer who was on Tuesday found guilty of murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death.
Sharpton, the civil rights leader who eulogized Floyd at his Minneapolis funeral last year, will also deliver the eulogy at Wright’s funeral. In an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday, Sharpton said he would first pay tribute to Wright, “a young man just at the beginning of life, full of life.”
“We lose George Floyd over an allegedly forged $20 bill and Daunte Wright over some expired (vehicle) tags — aren’t our lives worth more than that?” Sharpton said.
Also expected to attend the service are Rep. Ilhan Omar, who represents Brooklyn Center, Gov. Tim Walz, Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, and Minnesota Sens. Tina Smith and Amy Klobuchar. Valerie Castile, whose son Philando Castile died in 2016 after being shot during a traffic stop in nearby Falcon Heights, will also be in attendance.
“I’ve been to too many of these funerals,” Smith said outside the church on Thursday. “The funeral of Philando Castile, the funeral for George Floyd. Each one of these funerals is a reminder that someone really precious was lost, and I hope it can commit us to the change we need to see.”
The officer who shot Wright has resigned. Prosecutors charged Kim Potter with manslaughter. Police said she mistook her gun for her Taser. Potter goes back to court next month.
Wright’s killing set off protests in Brooklyn Center, a working-class, majority nonwhite city, with hundreds of people gathering every night for a week outside the city’s heavily guarded police station. While the mayor called for law enforcement and protesters to scale back their tactics, the nights often ended with demonstrators lobbing water bottles and rocks at the officers, and law enforcement responding with pepper spray, tear gas and rubber bullets.
Another protest outside the police department is scheduled for Thursday night.
Wright was pulled over on a Sunday afternoon. His mother said he called her to say he was stopped for having air fresheners hanging from his rear-view mirror — a traffic violation in Minnesota. Police said he was stopped for having an expired car registration.
The shooting occurred when a scuffle broke out as police tried to arrest Wright, after realizing he had an outstanding warrant for failing to appear in court on charges of fleeing police and having a gun without a permit.
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)