Local law enforcement is on standby. Again. Our communities brace for spillover. Again. The unthinkable has happened: Another Black man has died when encountering police, but this time it comes as our neighbors across the river try a former police officer accused of killing George Floyd 11 months ago.
Tensions already were at the tipping point in anticipation of a verdict. The world’s spotlight was on the Twin Cities metropolitan area -- of which Pierce and St. Croix counties are a part -- and now this happens. Too close to home. Again.
Floyd died in police custody 30.1 miles from Hudson. Daunte Wright was shot about 38 miles from Hudson ... just a few more miles from River Falls and points beyond.
Looting and violence followed death. Again. Just a couple miles away, property was destroyed. Curfews declared and streets ordered cleared by 7 p.m.
Our communities meanwhile watched in horror and disbelief, praying for calm and, one hopes, praying for resolve. Vigils and memorials are popping up in our communities.
Everyone would do well to listen to Wright’s mother and her twofold message.
"We want justice for Daunte," she said. "We don't want it to be all about this violence."
That means we need to insist on justice, but also live it in our personal lives. We need to ensure accountability, and commit to addressing the systemic failure of our law enforcement and the systemic racism in our communities. Right here. Right now. We cannot honor the memories of George Floyd and Daunte Wright and countless others until we do.
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