Local protests in response to Daunte Wright’s death are planned throughout the southwest metro in coming days.
Led by eight local women and based in Eden Prairie, nonprofit OneMinnesota is hoping to bring attention to Wright, a 20-year-old fatally shot by a Brooklyn Center police officer on April 11. It comes amid the Minneapolis trial of Derek Chauvin, a former police officer charged in the death of George Floyd, who was also Black, last May.
Eden Prairie resident Rachel Moe, who has work and family ties to Chanhassen and Chaska, is a founding member of the OneMinnesota group. She and other OneMinnesota members are planning a handful of upcoming Justice for Daunte and Black Lives Matter protests with a few goals in mind.
“Bring awareness to all the tragedies and events with police brutality, but to also bring (our) aspect of what Black culture is out to the suburbs,” Moe said. “You don't see enough representation of that.”
Moe, who is biracial but identifies first as African American, said the protests will be peaceful.
Protests are planned in Chanhassen, Eden Prairie, Chaska, and likely other suburbs like Waconia in the coming weeks, Moe said.
Protest information has been made public on Facebook, and Moe said she tagged the Eden Prairie Police Department to ensure they knew their intent. She hopes the protests will bring awareness and make people stop and think, she said.
“My goal here is to really bring people together and try to end the division. And of course there's not like that can be eradicated overnight, but hopefully my goal is they're gonna be eye-opening for people,” she said. “When we try to do it quietly and in silence, you don’t hear us. We have to get out there and be visible, and we may potentially have to go out there and impede traffic because you're not getting it.”
A WORD FROM LAW ENFORCEMENT
Carver County Sheriff Jason Kamerud said people are entitled to peacefully protest.
“Our deputies will work to ensure residents can safely exercise that First Amendment right,” Kamerud said.
He said officers will take “measured and reasonable enforcement action” for public safety.
“The homicide of Daunte Wright and the aftermath have rightfully shaken our communities. Times like these require pause and deliberate, thoughtful action,” he added, noting the department continues its Crucial Conversations meetings.
“Our purpose is to ensure all voices are heard and perspectives considered as we work together toward eliminating biases in our service delivery," Kamerud said.
Chaska Police Chief Ryan Seibert posted a similar sentiment.
“The officer-involved fatal shooting of Daunte Wright was tragic. We all grieve when a life is lost, and we know our community is hurting from this traumatic incident,” he said.
“One of our core values is respect, which means that we hold life in the highest regard. We strive to treat everyone with dignity and respect and remain fair and impartial as we perform our duties. We work hard to earn public trust, and we will continue to do that through our words and actions,” Seibert continued.
He said the department respects and protects people’s right to protest. Officers will use “courtesy and professionalism” to make sure everyone in the community feels safe, he said.
Seibert also noted continued Crucial Conversations and the department’s efforts to work with the community.
BLACK LIVES MATTER
Moe knows there is confusion over what the movement means.
“Our movement, Black Lives Matter, is exactly what it says,” Moe said, noting Black Lives Matter is separate from the global organization BLM. “We do understand, yes, all lives do matter. The Black ones right now are under scrutiny, are fearing for their lives, are being taken by police brutality.”
Moe said ideally, the protests will show people can come together without using violence. Suburban-dwellers might not be used to the diversity that these protests can bring, she said, and OneMinnesota members said they hope that will change.