One of the most vocal Timberwolves when it comes to issues of systemic racism and police brutality has been third-year guard Josh Okogie.
Okogie attended a downtown rally with center Karl-Anthony Towns after the death of George Floyd last May, has given interviews on the subject, appeared in a YouTube series for the Wolves discussing the issues and used his social media presence to amplify his voice.
Okogie posted a picture of himself with a T-shirt that read "Stop killing Black people" in response to the police killing of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center on Sunday.
After Tuesday's 127-97 loss to the Nets, Okogie again spoke passionately about his emotions in the wake of Wright's killing with the trial of Derek Chauvin for killing George Floyd happening at the same time in downtown Minneapolis.
"I don't want this to go where it's like … 'We're going to say let's hold people accountable,' then we'll wait until this dies down, then everybody is going to forget about it," Okogie said. "We have to keep having this conversation. Because it's happening too frequently that a young, 20-year-old kid gets killed not too far from where they're having a trial for another Black man getting killed."
Okogie discussed the specifics of the Wright incident, in which officer Kimberly Potter was seen in body camera footage saying she shot Wright. Potter resigned from the Brooklyn Center force Tuesday, as did Police Chief Tim Gannon, who said he thought Potter accidentally pulled her gun when she meant to pull her Taser.
"Even that just shows you have subconsciously, when they see a Black kid, it's just they're automatically a threat," Okogie said.
Okogie spoke for nearly 13 minutes. He referenced a Chris Rock comedy routine in which Rock talks about having "bad apples" in certain jobs, referring to a defense of police after killings such as Wright's that most are good officers save for a few "bad apples."
"Every time I see that, I think of that script Chris Rock wrote," Okogie said. "Say I'm starting an airline business — J.O. Airlines. Come fly with J.O. Airlines, and I say, 'OK, look, all of our pilots are pretty good, but we've got some bad apples.' Would you buy a ticket to J.O. Airlines? Probably not, right?"
Okogie said he has done extensive research when it comes to police procedures and statistics of civilians getting killed in police custody so as to better inform his view, and said he wished police had handled the encounter with Wright differently, that even if he did attempt to evade police, that doesn't justify that fact Wright is dead now.
"It's really so sad," Okogie said. "It's heartbreaking that it happens in the community that I'm playing in, because it could be anybody. I'm not far removed from it. I have a family — little brother, older brothers, older sister — they're not far removed from it, and it's just sickening, it's sad, it's disgusting, and it just has to stop."