Two families united in pain and anger: relatives of the African-American George Floyd and Daunte Wright, a young black man killed on Sunday by the police, together demanded on Tuesday the end of the violence of the police and of racism in the United States.
• Read also: United States: desperate vigil for young black man killed by police
• Read also: Minneapolis under high tension after death of young black man killed by police
“From the Floyd family to the Wright family: know that we stand by your side.”
It was with these simple words that Philonise Floyd, whose brother died on May 25 in Minneapolis below the knee of white policeman Derek Chauvin, offered her condolences to Daunte Wright’s parents at a joint press conference.
Tight to stand up in the face of “the unthinkable”, members of the two families marched into the microphone, displaying deep despair. “I am completely lost because my son had his father stolen,” said, in tears, Chyna Whitaker, who will have to raise alone a little boy of one year.
Daunte Wright, 20, was shot dead during a routine traffic stop at Brooklyn Center near Minneapolis in the northern United States on Sunday. Police called his death “accidental”.
Agent Kim Potter, 48, including 26 in law enforcement, confused her service weapon with her Taser, an electric pulse pistol that is not supposed to be lethal, the police chief assured. Brooklyn Center Police, Tim Gannon.
Faced with the outcry, the policewoman resigned Tuesday, as did Mr. Gannon.
Mr. Wright’s relatives are now calling for his arrest. “Throw her in jail like you would us,” said her aunt Naisha Wright, who wore a T-shirt decorated with the face of George Floyd.
“A mistake is unacceptable!” Added Brandon Williams, the nephew of this icon. “Enough: we need reforms of the police,” he said.
Echoing this, former President Barack Obama called in a statement to “rethink the police and public safety” in the United States.
“We have to tackle a lot of issues, on the police, but also equality and economic opportunities,” said the new Democratic President Joe Biden, during a meeting with black parliamentarians .
The two families were speaking a stone’s throw from the court where the historic trial of white policeman Derek Chauvin is being held, who entered a new phase on Tuesday, with the first defense witnesses.
The police officer, Eric Nelson, assures that his client respected the rules in force in the profession and that he did not cause the death of George Floyd, who died, according to him, of an overdose and heart problems .
Its objective: to sow doubt in the minds of at least one juror since, in the United States, verdicts must be rendered unanimously.
Many experts, including the Minneapolis Police Chief and several doctors, have cast doubt on this version of events, but Mr.e Nelson has pledged to bring forward differing views.
To do this, he first summoned a retired police officer who had arrested George Floyd a year before his death, and a rescuer who examined him after his arrest. “He told me he had taken, like every 20 minutes, opiates,” said Michelle Moseng.
He also introduced a former police instructor, Barry Brodd, who deemed “objectively reasonable” the force used by Derek Chauvin to subdue a recalcitrant suspect with imposing posture.
Since the start of the hearings, relatives of the black forty-something have denounced the strategy of the defense, which aims, according to them, to “dirty” the memory of the victim. “This is the trial of Derek Chauvin, not George Floyd,” they hammer in unison.
On Tuesday, their lawyer Ben Crump said it was “unbelievable” that police killed a new black man while this trial is ongoing. “I expected her to show herself in her best light” during these hearings, he said.
In a city that anxiously awaits the verdict, the death of Daunte Wright has heightened tensions.
After a first night of protests peppered with violence, authorities declared a curfew on the entire Minneapolis area–Saint-Paul Monday night, and deployed a thousand National Guard soldiers.
Dozens of protesters defied the ban and protested outside the Brooklyn Center police station with signs proclaiming, “Jail all the racist killer cops,” “Am I next?” and “No justice, no peace”.
The police used tear gas to disperse them and carried out around forty arrests. A few “limited” acts of vandalism were also reported.
A new curfew will begin at 10 p.m. in Minneapolis on Tuesday.