Yesterday another traffic stop resulted in another death of a black man.
It seems Daunte Wright was stopped for a seemingly minor traffic event, either an expired registration or things hanging from the rear-view mirror, and was found to have an outstanding arrest warrant. In the released body camera footage (at least the bit I saw on a Fox news article), which seems to start at the point where the police are returning to the vehicle to carry out the warrant. While they attempt to put handcuffs on him, he wriggles free and jumps in the driver's seat in an apparent attempt to flee. Some police continue trying to grab him, when the woman wearing the body cam starts shouting "taser," but clearly has a handgun in her hand. As he pulls away, the weapon discharges and it seems she drops it. The video stops shortly after, with seemingly confused officers in the frame. The body camera video was part of a press conference where the police were saying that they're currently under the belief that the wrong weapon was grabbed, with the officer believing she had grabbed her taser, and that she intended to subdue him with electrical charge and not a bullet.
So many things rip through your head and heart hearing this news and watching that video. I have so many questions, and can see so many armchair-quarterback kinds of ways to better handle the situation. There must be a better way.
Peeked at some statistics. Of course, they're never easily grabbed when you want them fast. In one FBI report, 6 cops were killed during traffic stops in 2019. In an NPR report from 2021, 135 unarmed black people were killed by police since 2015, although there's no differentiation of whether they were involved in a traffic stop. According to the Police Violence Report, 121 people were killed in 2020 by police at traffic stops, although there's no determination of race in that report. Still, it's clear that there's a pretty severe tip toward police killing others.
I've tried a bunch of times to capture some of those thoughts, but I just can't keep a straight path through them. It's overwhelming. I don't know how to look and listen. I don't know how to react. I don't know how to make any of it stop or change or get better.
I think it starts with "no deadly force at traffic stops." Allow for response of use against the police, but not the preemptive drawing of weapons, and train against weapons at all. Don't shoot people running away from traffic stops.
I just can't any more.