Following the police shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright on Sunday, protests and riots have once again broken out in and around Minneapolis.
While many Americans look to elected leaders for words and actions meant to restore calm while addressing the underlying societal issues, Vice President Kamala Harris is being accused of fueling the civil unrest with her response to the situation, Breitbart reports.
“Prayers are not enough”
In the wake of the fatal shooting in Brooklyn Center, tensions have escalated significantly even as former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin is on trial just a few miles away on charges related to the death of 46-year-old George Floyd. Rather than plead for peace and civility as an investigation into Wright’s death takes place, Harris opted to tweet a message that some people believe could further incite outrage in Minnesota and across the U.S.
“Prayers are not enough,” the vice president wrote on Monday. “Daunte Wright should still be with us. While an investigation is underway, our nation needs justice and healing, and Daunte’s family needs to know why their child is dead — they deserve answers.”
Of course, her call for “justice and healing” is almost universally supported among all Americans following the details of the case, and there are clearly questions related to the officer’s actions that deserve answers.
Nevertheless, critics fault the vice president for an apparent dismissal of the prayers being directed at those involved as well as a perceived implication that Wright was a blameless participant in the traffic stop during which he was fatally shot.
Although the use of deadly force has been roundly condemned across the board, Wright reportedly fought with officers after they determined that he had an outstanding warrant, prompting a struggle that ultimately led to what authorities argue was an accidental discharge of ex-officer Kim Potter’s service weapon.
A pattern of provocation
Since Harris posted her tweet, Potter resigned from the Brooklyn Center Police Department and currently faces manslaughter charges in connection with Wright’s death, according to USA Today.
The vice president’s reaction to this incident is not her first such response to garner criticism. In the wake of Floyd’s death, she promoted a controversial bail fund used to secure the release of arrested protesters and rioters.
Her tweet soliciting donations to the Minnesota Freedom Fund has not yet been deleted despite subsequent reports that it allocated only a few hundred thousand dollars of the millions it raised in donations and most of the suspects bailed out by the group had been charged with violent crimes.
In fact, the New York Post reported in February that at least one individual benefitted from the fund on two occasions. After he had been released twice — first for possessing a weapon and later for participating in another destructive riot — with money provided by the fund, he was arrested a third time on felony counts including weapons and drug possession.
Perhaps if Harris had used her influence both then and now to cool heightened tensions, she could have played a pivotal role as part of the solution instead of provoking even more unrest and division.