If the Brooklyn Center police officer who killed Daunte Wright truly meant only to use her Taser, the Brooklyn Center Police Department should apply human-factors research and change the position of the Taser on the holster, change the training on locating the Taser or whatever is needed so that such a tragic (alleged) mistake doesn't happen again.
Apologies aren't enough. Preventive action is what's needed.
Elaine Frankowski, Minneapolis
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When peaceful assembly encroaches on and impedes the safety of law-abiding citizens, as is occurring on a nightly basis in Brooklyn Center, then that is no longer peaceful assembly ("Life on furor's front lines is 'absolutely terrorizing,' " front page, April 15). These are insincere gatherings with not-so-hidden agendas to harass, taunt and harm law enforcement and anyone else who gets in their way. There is no sincerity of higher purpose to eradicate racism because these gatherings, in fact, escalate racism. To the mayor of Brooklyn Center, I say, it is time to take a stand for truth and let it be known to your citizens: Daunte Wright was not singled out for being Black. I am a white female who has been pulled over for expired tags, ticketed and had my license run for outstanding warrants. Wright was pulled over like anyone else in any town at any time for expired tags. He, however, had a warrant for carrying a weapon without a permit and fleeing the police, and those with warrants are subject to arrest by law.
Mr. Wright made the ill-fated decision to resist arrest. Why is nothing being said about his lack of personal accountability? With a history of firearm possession and dangerous behavior, the police had good reason to use a Taser on the man about to flee with a passenger in the car, possibly harming others in a speedy getaway. When weapons are involved in split-second decisions made by human beings, mistakes may be the outcome and it's just best to do what the police ask. Is law enforcement now expected to allow citizens to decide whether they will or will not be taken into custody?
Every law enforcement officer in this nation should walk off the job on the same day, at the same time, in an act of solidarity, letting the masses fend for themselves against the mobs who could care less for the safety and welfare of United States citizens of any color, race or creed.
Denise Saupe, Minneapolis
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The maelstrom over the Twin Cities continues. The arrest of former officer Kimberly Potter is another sad notch in the continuing story about law-enforcement officers who make a split-second decision that ends the life of a Black man. We like to think that "this isn't who we are," but this is exactly who we are. We need to examine how we all think about race, how law-enforcement officers operate, and why people of color are overrepresented in the casualties when law enforcement interacts with the public. I recall the video of the death of Philando Castile. The officer seemed terrified. I recall the video of the death of Daunte Wright: the officers seemed overwrought. I recall the video of the death of George Floyd: The officers deferred to the senior officer who is on trial right now. It's time to stop, listen and make the necessary changes to make life possible for all of our citizens. No matter what color.
Kristy Harms, Lakeville
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One simple step could prevent 90% of the future Daunte Wright tragedies — stop resisting arrest! As for the other 10%, sadly, no matter what legislation or reform we throw at the problem there will always be an occasional incident of this nature. Until we have perfect, mistake-free robocops, we are stuck drawing police officers from the pool of humanity. As we all know, human beings are the No. 1 carrier and cause of human error. If you know someone who could possibly be a perfect cop candidate, please get them into the training pipeline ASAP.
Pat Flynn, St. Paul
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There are four reasons for traffic stops that serve as an excuse for harassing citizens, minorities in particular, and for "fishing expeditions": hanging air fresheners and handicap badges, and broken or burned out taillights or headlights. None of them should be allowed as cause for stops by an officer with a firearm. The first two are ridiculous and the last two can be handled in our digital age by identifying the licensed owner and alerting them via text message, e-mail or snail mail. I won't even comment on the "expired tags" excuse during a pandemic where it's the state that's behind. Let's get rid of these lame excuses.
James Wallace, Eden Prairie
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Potter was arrested Wednesday morning and charged with second-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of Daunte Wright. There have been outcries from the public that the charge and accompanying sentence is too light and that a greater charge should be levied. Well, the acts of the officer do not arise to any of the other upper charges of first-degree manslaughter or first-, second- or third-degree murder. The officer could not likely be convicted of any of those greater charges as the laws are written. She would go free. See Minnesota Statutes 609.185 through 609.20.
Second-degree manslaughter is the only charge Potter can possibly be convicted under. The only alternative is acquittal. So what does the public want: a conviction with 10 years or total acquittal? That's the only choice prosecutors have. That is the reality, and no amount of outcry can change those facts under the law.
Perry Mays, Minneapolis
Invest in bus system over bikes
I'm a retired 69-year-old baby boomer, and while I live in suburban Lakeville, I'm a regular bicyclist. I also really enjoy using public transit, especially the light rail, when I can, but buses are difficult to use due to poor transit apps (compared with Miami-Dade County, for example) to figure out what bus goes where and when. And to me, biking on the bike lanes between curbside parking and traffic is dangerous. Plus, I'm sorry to say, even on bike trails in Uptown too many bikers are inconsiderate and zip along without any "On your left!" warnings, so much so that my wife refuses to ride the urban bike trails as a result. I'm surprised there aren't more accidents. We ride the Cannon Valley trail often. People are more polite.
Given that for four to five months of the year biking on city streets is often impossible, I believe we have overdone the bike lanes that really only support a small but vociferous minority. We need to improve public transit. What I'd give for better options to bus across the river. The Red Line is the only viable non-rush hour option for me and that is five miles away.
Michael Mayer, Lakeville
Courageous, not weak, to end war
The incoming flak that President Joe Biden is taking from some high-placed members of the military and intelligence community for his announced withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the upcoming Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attack here, should be taken with a shaker of salt ("Biden: 'It is time to end the forever war,' " April 15).
It was the unhesitating adherence by presidents to the views of the military and intelligence that has gotten this country into myriad costly — and deadly — blunders in the name of national security from Vietnam in the 1960s to Iraq in the first decade of this millennium and a number of places in between.
As the duly — and fairly — elected president, he is best situated to exercise the constitutional duties of commander in chief. He should, to be sure, solicit and listen to advice from those security sources, but his willingness to depart from it is a sign of sagacity, not submissiveness.
Marshall H. Tanick, Minneapolis
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