As jury deliberation continues in the Kim Potter trial, many are evaluating the state of racial justice in Minnesota. We talk to former Hennepin County Chief Public Defender Mary Moriarty.
Chioma Uwagwu reports:
As jury deliberation continues in the Kim Potter trial, many are evaluating the state of racial justice in Minnesota. Former Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter is charged with two counts of manslaughter in the death of Daunte Wright during a traffic stop. Potter says she mistakenly drew her gun instead of her taser.
Former Hennepin County Chief Public Defender Mary Moriarty says that, in her 31 years of work, many of her clients would tell their stories of police brutality but the lack of video evidence left them with no justice. She says the murder of George Floyd by police officer Derek Chauvin changed that.
“I think many more people were surprised at the boldness of Chauvin’s behavior - knowing he was being videoed, having all these people standing there - and so the community pretty much exploded,” said Moriarty. “I look back on it now, and I still think there's an opportunity, but I see that in danger of slipping away because now we're getting a lot of focus on violent crime.”
Homicides are at a near all-time high in Minneapolis. Moriarty says the rise in crime needs to be addressed, but so do racial disparities in public safety.
“Let's look at systemic racism which I do believe many people don't understand,” she said. “It's the racial disparities that we really avoid addressing because it would make us have to do some really hard work and really look at ourselves and how we have contributed to these disparities.”
Moriarty is running for the position of Hennepin County Attorney. The county’s current attorney Mike Freeman has announced that he will retire at the end of his term.
What is Racial Reckoning: The Arc of Justice?
Right now: Covering the trial of Kim Potter accused of killing Daunte Wright, the community’s reaction, and exploring the changes needed to create a more just society.
Racial Reckoning: The Arc of Justice is a journalism initiative from Ampers, Diverse Radio for Minnesota’s Communities, KMOJ Radio, and the Minnesota Humanities Center covering the trials of the officers accused of killing George Floyd, the community’s reaction, and exploring the changes needed to create a more just society.