Ben Crump: Police, especially in Minnesota, should be on 'their greatest behavior'

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Louis Casiano
·2 min read
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Civil rights attorney Ben Crump expressed disbelief Wednesday that a police officer, particularly in Minnesota, could shoot a Black man even after the reckoning over police reform following several high-profile police killings in recent years.

Crump, who represents several families who have lost loved ones who died during police encounters, was in New York City to speak about the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright, 20, who was killed Sunday during a traffic stop in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center.

"It's just so unconscionable and unbelievable... that within 10 miles(of) the trial regarding the killing of George Floyd is taking place that a police officer would yet again kill another unarmed Black man," Crump told reporters during a news conference held with civil rights leader Al Sharpton and several mothers whose sons were killed by police officers.

"If ever there was a time in America where the police should be on their greatest behavior," said Crump, "Where they should be de-escalating on every situation, it should be now, and especially in Minnesota."

DAUNTE WRIGHT SHOOTING: BROOKLYN CENTER POLICE CHIEF, OFFICER RESIGN AFTER 2 NIGHTS OF RIOTS IN MINNESOTA

The killing of Wright occurred a few miles from where Floyd died while in Minneapolis police custody last year. The incident ignited a nationwide debate on police reform as well as protests and riots.

Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis officer who pinned his knee on Floyd's neck, is currently on trial on murder and manslaughter charges.

The incident that led to Wright's death began with a traffic stop over expired license plates. Former Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said officer Kim Potter was intending to use her Taser but fired her weapon at Wright instead.

Officers said they tried to detain Wright on an outstanding arrest warrant and that he tried to flee.

Potter, a 26-year veteran of the police force and training officer, resigned Tuesday along with chief Gannon. She faces a second-degree manslaughter charge.

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The mothers of Black males -- Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Stephon Clark and Michael Brown -- also killed by police spoke Wednesday.

Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, said Potter's arrest means nothing without a conviction. "An arrest is just step one," she said. "We all had arrests. But we have to get a conviction."

Martin was killed by a Florida neighborhood watch volunteer who was later acquitted.

Crump also cited the difference in criminal charges against Potter and a Black former Minneapolis officer who also fatally shot a white woman. Mohamed Noor was convicted of third-degree murder and sentenced to 12.5 years in prison for the 2017 fatal shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, a 40-year-old dual citizen of the United States and Australia.

"The family is glad she (Potter) got charged but they do hope and pray for a day where they get equal justice," he said. "Why should we always get a fragment of justice."