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Two Tragic Incidents that Should Have Been Avoided: Daunte Wright and Adam Toledo

     Recently two tragic events took place costing twenty-year-old Duante Wright and thirteen-year-old Adam Toledo’s life. In both cases they were shot and killed by police. Since the two tragic deaths numerous protests and vigils have been held for the two seeking justice and for those involved to be held accountable. May they rest in peace and may we fight to hold those accountable and prevent future incidents like these two from repeating.

Daunte Wright

     In the recent tragic event twenty-year-old Daunte Wright was wrongfully shot and killed by the police at a traffic stop which took place ten miles away from where Derek Chauvin is on trial (the former Minnesota police officer charged with the murder of George Floyd). This tragic incident should have and could have been prevented but instead it resulted in the death of someone young, so young that you may even be older than him. According to the Brooklyn Center Police Department the police officers pulled Mr. Wright over on April 11th afternoon for a traffic violation and it was then the officers discovered he had a warrant for his arrest. According to the police as they tried to detain Mr.Wright he got back into his car causing a struggle with the officers. It was then the now viral body camera footage of an officer is seen to point a gun at him and shouted “Taser” and after the car pulled away the officer yelled “I just shot him”. Mr.Wright’s car continued to drive several blocks when it struck another vehicle and was pronounced dead on the scene. The Hennepin County medical examiner the next day concluded Mr.Wright indeed passed away due to the gunshot wound on his chest. Daunte Wright was described to be a dedicated father to his two year old son and the principal of his high school said “He was just like any other kid.” 

     Kim Porter, the police officer who mistook her gun for her taser resulting in the death of Mr.Wright, was recently arrested and is facing a charge of second-degree manslaughter. How does one get confused with one’s gun for their taser on the police force? This question replayed in my head and as this tragic event began to be shared around numerous sources have come out with articles asking and answering that same exact question. The US based Axon company who developed the taser used by the Brooklyn Center Police department said that their weapons (taser in this case) were designed to be distinguishable from handguns. They implemented several features to reduce the possibility of incidents like Mr. Wright’s from happening such as bright colors, weighing significantly less than a gun, have different grips, and possess no trigger safety mechanism as a gun typically would have. Police officers are also said to be trained to keep their guns in a holster on their dominant side of the body.

 

Adam Toledo

     Recently in Chicago, a body-camera video went viral showing an officer making a split-second decision to fire a single shot which killed thirteen-year-old Adam Toledo which took place on March 29th. It was claimed that Adam Toledo was holding a gun in the body camera footage but it is unclear what it was. Regardless, in the slowed down version of the video he approached the fence and let go of whatever was in his hand, turned around and then was shot. The officer’s gunshot was alerted by the city around 2:36 AM and Mr.Toledo was pronounced dead at the scene ten minutes later. However, during the hearing for Ruben Roman who was with Adam Toledo on the night of the shooting assistant state attorney James Murphy suggested Mr. Toledo was still holding the gun when officer Stillman pulled the trigger. Murphy failed to explain that the video and screenshots in fact proved Adam had nothing in his hands when he was shot and had tossed/dropped the weapon before he was shot. The weapon was found next to a fence by police following the incident.

     Since Adam Toledo’s tragic death numerous protests and vigils have been organized fighting for the justice Mr.Toledo and his loved ones deserve. Many who attended the protests in Little Village, Chicago where the incident occurred have sympathized with the family and are enraged with what happened. Adam Toledo should have not been shot and killed and due to this split-second mistake officer Stillman made Mr. Toledo will never wake up again.

     Both tragic incidents that occurred with Duante Wright and Adam Toledo should have been avoided and the result would have been both returning to their loved ones. Rather due to the officers carelessness and mistakes both victims will never wake up again leaving their loved ones at such a young age. Justice needs to be brought to both cases and although justice does not fix the tragic incident of the two it can help prevent future incidents and possibly offer the families closure that they seek. Accountability must be upheld by those involved as well and we must fight for that!

Tiffany is currently a full-time student at SUNY Buffalo majoring in biological sciences. She loves to travel, cook, paint, and go on adventures. She aspires to be a doctor one day and make the world a better place.
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