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Daunte Wright killing: Biden acknowledging Black “Pain” isn’t enough. He helped create it

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

By Richard Sudan

Another week and another Black man shot dead in the United States at the hands of the police. And over nothing.

Harrowing footage of the incident has been shared across the world sparking anger and fury, not just at the scene of the killing, leading to successive nights of insurrections, but among all those around the world, who remain deeply concerned about the ongoing state of racial injustice, police brutality and anti-Black racism in the US.

20 year-old Daunte Wright was killed by police in Minneapolis, just a few miles from where George Floyd was killed by Derek Chauvin last year, and as the murder trial of Chauvin is simultaneously underway.

Wright, who had been pulled over and questioned by the police, was unarmed and posed no physical threat to the officers and was not endangering their lives.  Despite this, as has been the case in countless other instances, the police officer, named Kim Potter, fired a single shot into the chest of Daunte Wright, killing him.

Wright, himself a young father, was on the phone to his own mother in the moments before his life was taken.

Predictably, sections of the media began to delve into Wright’s so-called criminal history, which had no bearing with the stone cold unavoidable truth, that he carried no weapon that could possibly justify the deadly force used by Potter.

Not many in the media have made too much of the history of the police, in comparison to the immediate spotlight place on Wright’s past, although some outlets did pick up on the fact that Potter was allegedly involved in a previous shooting in which an autistic person was killed, whereby she is reported to have told officers to switch off their body-cameras.

Potter, who has since resigned from her position, and has been charged with manslaughter, claims the killing of Wright was an error, and that she mistakenly pulled her gun from her holster rather than her taser.

But many believe this to be a lie.  They argue that Wright did not die because of a mistake.  He died because he was Black, and a victim of a system which in America is so much more likely to treat African Americans in a way that views them as innate threats and targets, compared to white people’s collective experience.

This dichotomy and these disparities, have become ever more apparent, especially over the last few years.

Some are suggesting that the reason Wright actually tried to return to his vehicle, during the encounter, is in truth because he was already in fear for his life, due to these very reasons, living in a country where prejudice is stacked against people that look like him.

While the authorities have already described and are describing the shooting of Wright and Potter’s use of her gun as ‘accidental discharge’, those protesting following Wright’s death don’t believe it.  They are calling it murder.  

Wright’s death is not the first time that a police officer has killed someone in the US, while claiming that they intended to use the force of a taser, which itself can also be lethal, instead of a gun.

Making matters worse, is the fact that Potter was an officer with almost three decades of experience, and had even been head of the police union, and had trained other officers.  Potter has reportedly offered no apology to the family of Duante Wright at the time of writing.

And what has further rubbed salt into a very raw and open wound for the Black community following Wright’s death, was the statement made by President Joe Biden in the aftermath of the incident.

Bear in mind that Joe Biden promised in the run-up the November election in the US, that if he were to become president he would take decisive action on police brutality and prison reform.

When questioned about the death of Wright, Biden condemned the protestors for the previous insurrections that had occurred. He also talked about a “full blown investigation” needing to take place before suggesting, that he understood the pain and anguish that the Black community felt.

For scores of people, this was the last straw, and frankly insulting.  Because many view Biden as a president who not only does not understand the collective trauma being felt in the Black community, but rather, as an individual who has contributed to that pain.  

Biden of course, was one of the key figures to push through the infamous legislation in 1994 known simply as the 94’ Crime Bill, which saw the mass incarceration of thousands of Black people take place, for crimes and reasons which have since been acknowledged should not have been treated as offences.

Biden signed many executive orders in the early days of his presidency, and has subsequently taken a number of actions and allocated tax dollars to many other groups, at the exclusion of Black Americans.

The police themselves have been granted millions more dollars, creating a contradiction for some, that the national slogan of ‘defund the police’, has somehow developed into a concrete plan to fund them further.

The very legitimate question of reparations for the Black community for crimes endured during and since slavery was a big topic of discussion in the run up to the election, but which many doubt will come into fruition under Biden. 

While significant numbers of people believed that the removal of former president Donald Trump, an open racist, and the installation of Joe Biden would cure the problem of anti-Black racism in the US, the reality is much different. 

Police killings of Black people have continued, and many activists are convinced that the George Floyd Justice in Policing Bill, if passed into law, will do nothing to incentivise police officers to follow the law, to protect and serve and act humanely in the way they should already have been doing.

Political observers often argue that Biden needs time to rectify the problem of systemic anti-Black racism in the United States, assuming he is motivated to do so.  But the fact is, that even strong serious and sincere words, of clear condemnation of the dire situation facing Black people, from the leader of the ‘free world’ would itself send a strong message.  

But so far, Biden looks reluctant to send that message, is not fulfilling the promise he made to Black Americans on election night to ‘have their back’, and looks very much like the same Joe Biden who drafted the 1994 anti-Black Crime Bill.

Richard Sudan is a journalist, writer and TV reporter working for Press TV.

(The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.)

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