Cross posted to the MRC's NewsBusters blog
This past week showcased the latest example of the liberal media burying the criminal record of a police shooting victim as one of Daunte Wright's alleged victims died from his injuries. Wright was accidentally shot in April 2021 when Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter tried to arrest him for an outstanding warrant, and most of the media rushed to portray Wright as someone who should never have been stopped in the first place.
By contrast, Fox News informed viewers that Wright not only was facing armed robbery charges, but he also was accused of shooting a former friend in the head in addition to car theft and burglary. Several days ago, one of his alleged victims, Caleb Livingston, passed away after spending the last three years severely disabled. His family's attorney, Mike Padden, is suing Wright's estate for wrongful death. FoxNews.com recounted:
Caleb Livingston was 16 years old in May 2019 when Wright allegedly shot him in the head at the Full Stop gas station on Lowry Avenue, north of Minneapolis, according to court documents. As a result, he was left permanently disabled -- unable to walk, talk or take care of himself due to a condition called unresponsive wakefulness syndrome.
While the liberal media have ignored the story both online and on television, CNN's New Day a few weeks notably was still interested enough in the Wright story to highlight a legal fight between his parents and the mother of his child over money raised. Last February, the same CNN show gave a forum to Wright's parents to accuse the judge of racism for giving Officer Potter a low sentence and portray their son as if he had no criminal history.
The media have ignored the more serious parts of his criminal history and portrayed the traffic stop as primarily over minor issues like an expired tag. By contrast, last December, Fox News analyst Greg Jarrett complained about Minnesota law allowing Wright's parents to take the stand and mislead the jury about their son's character and bury his illegal behavior:
What really concerns me, and troubles me, is this unique Minnesota law called "spark of life." It allowed the parents of Daunte Wright to take the witness stand and talk about the importance of his life. Which is fine. But it also allowed them to portray their son as this angelic person. The jurors don't know, for example, that he has been accused of shooting a teenager in the head, accused of shooting a man in the leg during an attempted carjacking, and robbing a woman in her own home at gunpoint and allegedly sexually assaulting her. ... if a trial is the search for the truth, don't the jurors -- aren't they entitled to the full truth? Should the law be exploited to deceive the jurors?
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Fox & Friends Saturday
December 18, 2021
7:28 a.m. Eastern
GREGG JARRETT, FOX NEWSLEGAL ANALYST: I'll tell you, Rachel, what really concerns me, and troubles me, is this unique Minnesota law called "spark of life." It allowed the parents of Daunte Wright to take the witness stand and talk about the importance of his life. Which is fine. But it also allowed them to portray their son as this angelic person.
The jurors don't know, for example, that he has been accused of shooting a teenager in the head, accused of shooting a man in the leg during an attempted carjacking, and robbing a woman in her own home at gunpoint and allegedly sexually assaulting her. You know, if a trial is the search for the truth, don't the jurors -- aren't they entitled to the full truth? Should the law be exploited to deceive the jurors? That troubles me.
December 18, 2021
10:11 a.m. Eastern
PAULA REID: Now, I really want to look very closely at this testimony. What's so unusual about what we're seeing here is seeing a police officer who is so emotional. Now, we saw she was very emotional on the stand, and we also saw the bodycam video where she says she was, quote, "distraught." What do you think of this defense strategy?
CHERYL DORSEY, RETIRED LOS ANGELES POLICE SERGEANT: Well, I would imagine they felt she had to take the stand and explain in her own words for the jury why she did something so in conceivable. A 26-year veteran who would touch her gun every day as I did for 20 years, wearing that uniform, before you go out into the field and make sure that it's working.
All of a sudden, you get in the field, and you don't know the difference between a two-pound Glock and a taser? And we know that officers create audio records -- "Taser, taser, taser," -- just before they use force on you like they will say, "Stop fighting me, stop kicking me," when none of that has happened.
And so I find all of what she is saying to be disingenuous and intellectually dishonest. She, by her own admission, said, "I saw a black man driving a car with an air freshener hanging from the rear view mirror -- something I wouldn't ordinarily do" -- but she wanted to let her probationary officer play with this black man and see what they could come up with, and it ended in his death. I'm offended.
CNN's New Day
February 21, 2022
8:31 a.m. Eastern
BRIANNA KEILAR: Why do you think she is getting that amount of time instead of a higher sentence?
ARBUEY WRIGHT, FATHER OF DAUNTE WRIGHT: Well, I think, I mean, I think America knows. I mean, a white woman with tears, I mean, I think America knows why she got this sentence.
ARBUEY WRIGHT: The world knows.
KEILAR: Katie, why do you think?
KATIE WRIGHT: The same reason. If it was my son -- a black man, 20 years old -- on trial for manslaughter, he would have had an upward departure regardless of what his criminal record was prior. He could have had nothing, not even a speeding ticket on his record, and he would have been thrown under the jail. It's definitely about race. It's been about race since the moment my son was pulled over. He was racially profiled. He was -- it was pulling him over because he was a young black man in a nice car. So it's always been about race, and it's showing all the way up to sentencing.
KATIE WRIGHT: The fight will continue -- we're going to continue until driving while black is no longer a death sentence.
KEILAR: I think that's a very interesting point that Katie makes about the fact that there have been, you know, I think, Jeff, the norm is that you would see someone just completely get off and that they wouldn't be convicted, right? And they wouldn't be sentenced at all.
JEFF STORMS, ATTORNEY FOR DAUNTE WRIGHT's FAMILY: Well, I mean, historically, we certainly have seen a lack of prosecution of officers, but certainly this family shouldn't accept half justice as a victory, you know, In particular, in the words of the judge asking, you know, effectively, the family to empathize with Kim Potter. You know, we've seen judges come forward and say, "Let's empathize with the fact that, you know, young black Americans have grown up with significant disadvantages statistically or people have come from, you know, we've had immigrants come from war-torn countries where they have been subjected to horrible abuses and PTSD."
You know, we've had judges -- as Katie touched on before -- traditionally in those situations not empathize with the, you know, with the defendants in those situations, and often increase the potential sentence and go above guidelines. We've seen that many times here in Minnesota. So to, you know, to have the court, you know, basically shirk the determination of a jury, right, which found Kim Potter guilty of manslaughter 1 and 2 and then offer a lower sentence.
For example, what Mohammed Noor got -- who was only convicted of manslaughter 2 -- it just shows all of us that, all of a sudden, we engage in things like criminal justice reform, and we show empathy, and when it applies to the white officers or white defendants.
KEILAR: Katie and Arbuey, we are out of time -- we have to say goodbye -- but I do just want to give you a chance to talk about your son, We see the photos. We also see the blurred out face of Daunte Jr. in those photos. You are going without your son -- he is going without his father. What has it been for you to not have him?
KATIE WRIGHT: It's been a nightmare -- every day is a challenge. Daunte was a whole piece of our family that has been stolen from us. And it's hard to just even wake up every day knowing we're not going to see him walk through our door. We're not going to watch him play with his son. We're not going to watch him tell jokes and be just a goofy kid and come in the door smiling and grinning. And it's hard -- it's really hard.
CNN's New Day
October 4, 2022
8:57 a.m. Eastern
BRIANNA KEILAR: This morning, the mother of Daunte Wright's son is suing her former attorney, Ben Crump, along with Daunte's parents over GoFundMe money. Wright was shot and killed by a Minnesota police officer during a traffic stop in April of 2021. The mother of his child is now filing suit, claiming she hasn't received any of the more than $1 million raised following his death. CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez is with him now. Omar, what have you learned?
OMAR JIMENEZ: Yes, Brianna, so this is being filed by the biological mother of Daunte Wright's son, Daunte Jr. She says she's the sole person who's taking care of this child, according to the lawsuit. And it's being filed against Daunte Wright's parents and Ben Crump, who's represented the family. Now, part of the lawsuit reads that, of the $1,039,260 raised through GoFundMe and managed by Crump's law firm, not one single penny has been turned over to the plaintiff for the benefit of Daunte Jr. And despite her claiming in this lawsuit that she was promised upfront any GoFundMe proceeds would be split 50/50 between Wright's family and Daunte Jr. to make sure he's being taken care of.
JOHN BERMAN: Omar, how has Ben Crump responded to this lawsuit?
JIMENEZ: Well, basically, John, at this point, Ben Crump is saying that this "has nothing to do with me because I didn't manage any funds." And he sent me a statement that reads in part: "This is strictly a family dispute between the mother of Daunte Wright's child and Daunte's parents, who set up the GoFundMe account in question. Ben Crump Law did not benefit from any of the funds raised, and we did not accept any fee in this case. Our hearts are always with the family, and we pray that they can find resolution."
I've also reached out to Daunte Wright's parents -- his mother, in particular -- but I haven't gotten a response. They have 21 days to respond in court based on what has been filed. But, obviously, this is something that seems to be trying to be figured out at the family level but has now spilled over into the courts.
KEILAR: All right, Omar, we know you'll cover that. Thank you.