WASHINGTON SQUARE PARK — A dual vigil and a call to action in Washington Square Park Wednesday.
They were marching for Dominique Lucious, a transgender woman murdered last week in the Ozarks region of Missouri and for Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old shot and killed last weekend in Brooklyn Central, Minnesota, during a traffic stop for an expired registration.
Kimberly Bernard, a member of the advocacy organization “Black Women’s March” spoke Wednesday evening to a large, attentive crowd in Washington Square Park.
“It saddens us that we have to be here today,” she said. “We wish we didn’t have to be here today. In fact, we wish there wasn’t a need for this at all.
Bernard called for a shake-up to the system.
“We’re in the middle of a massive movement to end police violence against Black people and I am encouraging everyone who has a heart and a moral compass to join us,” Bernard added. “The way policing is now, it doesn’t work and has never worked for Black people in this country.”
For this crowd, there is no victory in seeing Officer Kim Potter face second-degree manslaughter charges for fatally shooting Wright, after allegedly mistaking her gun for her taser following a struggle to bring him into custody.
An EMT trainee at LaGuardia Community College who went by the name Biggs says he believes Wright’s shooting is just the latest proof that law enforcement is in desperate need of reform, even as America watches the trial of Officer Derek Chauvin, who knelt on George Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes.
“We have to stare our families in the face every single day we leave our homes, because we know that may be the last moment that we see them,” he said. “For them to be killing us off, left and right as this trial happens, it lets us know they do not care.”
Potter may have promptly retired from the force before she could be fired, but she still faces up to 10 years in prison on that manslaughter charge. In the meantime, funeral preparations are underway for Wright.
Correction: Daunte Wright’s name was initially misspelled. The error has since been corrected.