On this day, February 18, 2022, America once more proved that, while Black lives matter, white lives matter more. The background is a sad replay of the horrific murder of yet another Black person in America- this time at the hands of the police.
On April 11, 2021, Daunte Martin – a 20-year old Black man who was a resident of a Minneapolis suburb, was stopped by the police for a traffic violation. The violation? An air freshener hanging from his rear view mirror.
Mr. Martin was concerned about an outstanding warrant on another (nonviolent matter) and for whatever reason a 20-year old was thinking, he tried to escape the police officers and was shot by one Officer Kimberly Potter, who claimed that she thought that she was using her taser when she shot and killed him with her pistol.
We can start with a basic look at the facts. Why on Earth anyone is stopped by the police for an air freshener on the rear view mirror is more than a mystery. Why Mr. Martin needed to be detained for a non-violent offense is another mystery.
But the true mystery is how/why Kimberly Potter, a 26-year veteran of the police force could possibly confuse her pistol for a taser? It is virtually impossible to confuse a bright yellow plastic gun (that looks more like a water pistol) with a lethal police pistol.
And the further mystery is that even if Mr. Wright had gotten in his car and driven away, how far was he going to go before being apprehended for these non-violent offenses.
We know of the racial disparity in penal sentencing in America. Black defendants are almost always going to be sentenced to serve more time in prison than their white counterparts – for the same offense.
In this case there was no allegation that Ms. Potter had some pre-meditated, malicious, intent to kill Mr. Martin. But she was certainly reckless to confuse a plastic Taser with a police pistol.
Ms. Wright was duly convicted of manslaughter for her reckless killing of Mr. Martin. And then………………. the judge sentenced Ms. Wright 2 years in prison (since she had been incarcerated for four months, the actual sentence is sixteen months) although most experts believe that a 6-8-year sentence would be appropriate.
However, it should be noted that Ms. Potter is a white woman and Mr. Martin was a Black man.
And once more it is clear that, while Black Lives Matter, white lives still matter more.