MINNEAPOLIS — Two days after people poured into Minneapolis streets to rejoice for the state's first-ever murder conviction of a white police officer for the killing a Black man, community members began to gather at a north Minneapolis church to mourn the death of another Black man killed by police.
The funeral for Daunte Demetrius Wright on Thursday at Shiloh Temple International Ministries is expected to draw hundreds of mourners. The family is also livestreaming the funeral on Facebook. National civil rights leader the Rev. Al Sharpton will deliver the eulogy for the 20-year-old father; attorney Ben Crump and family members also making remarks.
Mourners including Gov. Tim Walz, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, U.S. Sen. Tina Smith, U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott began to stream into the church around noon. Large photos of the smiling young man flanked his white coffin, which was covered in dozens of red roses. A band played gospel music.
Outside, outreach workers and armed Minnesota Freedom Fighters surrounded Wright's parents, Katie and Aubrey Wright, who held hands as they entered the temple alongside Sharpton. A swarm of photographers from international media organizations jostled and craned their necks for a photo of the grieving family.
Dressed up and in the arms of a relative, 1-year-old Daunte Jr., Wright's son, looked wide-eyed at the more than 100 people crowded outside the north Minneapolis building.
Traffic moved slowly down W. Broadway Avenue, where a lane was blocked off for the funeral procession. A man and woman wearing sweatshirts with Wright's face on them paused for a minute, looked at the hearse, then continued walking down the block.
Walz issued a proclamation Thursday morning calling for a statewide moment of silence during the first two minutes of Wright's funeral, from noon to 12:02 p.m.
"Daunte Wright was beloved by his family, neighbors and community, and had his entire young life ahead of him. We mourn the loss of Daunte Wright, and as a state we offer our deepest condolences to the Wright family," the proclamation read. "While nothing can bring Daunte Wright back to his loved ones, we must continue to work to enact real, meaningful change at the local, state, and national levels to fight systemic racism so that every person in Minnesota — Black, Indigenous, Brown, or White — can be safe and thrive."
Wright was shot and killed by a former Brooklyn Center police officer during a traffic stop on April 11. Wright's killing by police during the trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, now convicted of the murder of George Floyd, sparked days of protests, civil unrest and dozens of arrests in the suburb of 31,000.
Wright's family said he had left the house with his girlfriend, heading to the car wash. Wright phoned his mother moments before the deadly encounter, telling her he believed police were stopping him for having an air freshener hanging next to the windshield. Police later said he was stopped for expired tabs.