Northland community protest in response to Daunte Wright's death

Alejandra Palacios
Updated: April 12, 2021 06:15 PM
Created: April 12, 2021 05:45 PM

Many in the Northland are responding to the death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright. A local group organized a protest outside of Duluth City Hall Monday morning calling for justice.

The organizers of the protest held by Iron Range group VEMA or Voices for Ethnic and Multicultural Awareness, said the protest was not only in response to Daunte Wright but also the death of 19-year-old Estavon Elioff.

"We are just pissed off, angry, sick, and tired of it. Tired of excuses, I just want something to change, and want something to be done," said Nathaniel Coward, the co-founder of VEMA.

The attendee's at the protest said they are sharing the pain and anger of many across the state in response to Wright's fatal shooting by a Brooklyn Center police officer.

In this protest, they also say justice has not been served in the death of 19-year-old of Elioff, who was fatally shot in December by St. Louis County deputies in Mountain Iron. The county attorney's office determined the two deputies' use of force was justified, but the people at the protest feel otherwise.

"I feel like we need to abolish the police. They have shown us time and time again that they have no regard for our lives," said Seraphia Gravelle, the co-founder of VEMA.

The Duluth NAACP is also responding to incident in Brooklyn Center and are calling on police to take action.

"We stand in mourning with the family of Daunte Wright, with the friends, and greater Brooklyn Center Minneapolis community. This is not the first time this has happened," said Veronica Surges, a co-chair of the Duluth NAACP's criminal justice committee.

Surges said she felt the incident could have been avoided and handled differently.

"There are countless times this situation could have gone a complete different way. We start at very beginning, Daunte Wright didn't need to get arrested, he didn't need to get pulled over," said Surges.

Surges said they will make sure they work with the City of Duluth and Duluth Police Department so that incidents like this don't continue to happen.

"Mayor Larson in her state of city address said she was going to implement a racial bias audit with the Duluth Police Department. That's a great first step but we need community engagement here. It can't be about police policing themselves. We need to be hiring people that want to help others instead of pulling over as many people as they can. That culture shift has to come from the top," said Surges.

Surges said they plan on working closely with the mayor and chief of police as they start to work on the racial bias audit so that they can make sure it can be done by an objective third party and done with the community's best interest in mind.


Alejandra Palacios

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