Daunte Wright case follows history of fatal police incidents in Minnesota Twin Cities

At least 55 people have died at the hands of police in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area over the last 20 years, but the problem goes far beyond the cities' limits.
11:04 | 04/14/21

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Transcript for Daunte Wright case follows history of fatal police incidents in Minnesota Twin Cities
They murdered my nephew. My nephew was 20 years old. Tell them. 20 years old. I don't care what nobody got to say about him. He was loved. Reporter: With the nation watching, daunte Wright's heartbroken family bravely putting their pain and anger on display. I watched that video, like everybody else watched that video. Taser, taser, taser! That woman had that gun out in front of her for a long damn my nephew's blood is on your hands. He was a beautiful child. He might not have been an angel, but he was our angel. Our angel. He belonged to us. He belonged to us. Tell them, grandma. He's going to be missed. Reporter: A shared sorrow the Wright family joining George Floyd's, two families united in pain all too familiar to black America. Minneapolis, you all can't sweep this under the rug anymore. At some point we need officers to be held accountable. Amen. Charged and quilgted. Amen. Just because you are the law doesn't mean you're above the law. Reporter: 20-year-old Wright was killed after being pulled over by police in Brooklyn center, a suburb of Minneapolis. Kim Pata, the officer responsible for shooting Wright, resigning after being an officer for 26 years. We did not ask her to resign, that was a decision that she made. Reporter: Police chief Tim Gannon, who called the shooting a mistake, also resigning. Protesters taking to the streets here in Minneapolis and across the country, from Portland to New York. Black lives matter! Reporter: Outrage over another black man's death by police. Sparking calls for change. Prosecute the police! Reporter: Today, vice president Harris making her feelings plain. I do want to address the killing of daunte Wright. He should be alive today. Folks will keep dying if we don't fully address racial injustice and inequities in our country. This is something that Dr. Martin Luther king talked about decades ago, and we're still talking about this very real problem. It's just that one incident sort of takes the place of another incident. Reporter: Samuel Jones is a distinguished retired army major who served as a military police officer. He's currently a legal scholar and professor who studies racial disparities in policing. We continue to live in a society where there is a sort of racializing enforcement instead of law enforcement, where police officers feel at liberty to stop African-American men for virtually any infraction and to exact virtually any violation of their freedom, violation of their dignity, without severe consequences. Reporter: Philando Castille. George Floyd. Now daunte Wright. In Minnesota, at least 55 black people have died from fatal police encounters in the last 20 years. For Wright, the fear of police was real. I know my son was scared. He was afraid of the police. And I seen and heard the fear in his voice. And it should have never, ever escalated the way it did. Reporter: Katie and arbie spoke to robin Roberts about their son. My son was an amazing, loving kid. He had a big heart. He had a smile that would light up the room. It was so big and bright. Reporter: On Sunday afternoon, Wright was stopped by police for expired registration on his vehicle. Officers discovering he had a warrant out for his arrest. Issued after Wright failed to appear in court earlier this month on charges including carrying a firearm without a permit. Mrs. Wright, you said that your son, daunte, called you after he had been pulled over by the police. Can you please share with us what you all said to each other? He called me, and he said, mom, I've just been pulled over. I said, for what? He said, they said they pulled me over because I had air fresheners hanging in the reform. I said, okay, take them down. Reporter: Police attempted to detain Wright. The call drops. I tried to call back. Three, four times. And then the girl that was with him answered the phone. And she said that they shot him. And he was laying in the driver's seat, unresponsive. And then I heard an officer ask her to hang up the phone again. And then after that was the last time I seen my son. I haven't seen him since. Unfortunately, as an African-American male living in that jurisdiction, he was probably also aware of the alarming degree of footage of African-American men being senselessly killed by police officers, including the killing of George Floyd. And this creates a certain degree of trauma and fear whenever an African-American male in that jurisdiction is stopped. Because the question they're asking themselves, am I next? This is the reason why he was calling his mother. Reporter: The family grappling to understand how a police officer could mistake a gun for a taser. Officer potter was actually training the officer on duty Taser, taser, taser! I cannot accept that I lost my son. He's never coming back. I can't accept that, a mistake? That doesn't even sound right. This officer has been on the force for 26 years. I can't accept that. For a police officer to mistake a taser for a gun is actually very rare. The taser is not even carried on the same side as the firearm. Reporter: The mother of Wright's young son, daunte Jr., demanding consequences for the officer who shot Wright. I just want justice for my son's dad. Because it's just not fair. Reporter: Whether a lethal mistake or police bias, this is endemic of a clear and present reality for people of color across America. An ABC news investigation in partnership with our own stations examining traffic stops has revealed stark disparities. In a number of major cities across America, black drivers are far more likely to be stopped by the police than white drivers, even when accounting for the racial makeup of the cities and counties. Here in Minneapolis, black Americans are five times more likely to be stopped by police. In Chicago and San Francisco, four times more likely. In Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Raleigh, nearly three times more likely. My nephew, philando, was murdered by a St. Anthony police officer in falcon heights, Minnesota. Seeing my sister's son, my nephew, shot and killed in a car by another police oficer. You know, it was devastating. Reporter: The uncle of philando Castille spoke to our Pierre Thomas last year. Ka still's life was cut short on July 6, 2016. He was 32 years old. On that fateful night, officer Yanez makes the call to pull over Castille. I'm going to stop a car, I'm going to check I.D.S. I have reason to pull them over. The two occupants just look like people that were involved in a robbery. The driver looks more like one of our suspects, just because of the wide-set nose. Reporter: The situation escalates in a matter of seconds. Sir, I have to tell you, I do have a firearm on me. Okay, don't reach for it, then. Don't pull it out. I'm not pulling it out. Don't pull it out. Reporter: Less than 40 seconds after approaching the car, Yanez opens fire. Phil did everything he could do. He had his hands in plain sight. He offered information. Did you see any effort to de-escalate? No, he didn't try any other nonfatal approaches. Reporter: Officer Yanez would be acquitted on charged of second degree manslaughter and dangerous discharge of a firearm. He would later be let go from the St. Anthony police department. But the family of Castillo would receive nearly $3 million in a wrongful death lawsuit. There was no evidence Castillo was involved in any robbery, and as a law-abiding citizen, he had been granted a permit to carry a concealed weapon. For philando Castille, being pulled over was a frequent occurrence and caused financial hardship. According to a complaint by the aclu, Castille was stopped sometimes several times in one Does it offend you he was pulled over that many times? Yes, it does. It definitely means he was profiled. There's crisis in American policing. Something needs to be done about that. Reporter: Scott Thompson served as police chief of Camden, New Jersey, 2008 to 2019. His city was once the most dangerous city in America. But under his leadership, they took a bold step. Expanding the police department and rebuilding an entirely new one. We've reduced excessive force complaints by 95%. Reporter: His advice for police departments across the country, emphasize de-escalating training. Training officers in the art and skill of de-escalation is as important as teaching them how to accurately shoot their the ultimate objective is that everybody goes home at the end of the shift, not just one party. Training is completely irrelevant if you don't have police accountability. Police accountability is what forces a police officer to think twice or we will continue to see killing of unarmed African-American men in the United States of America, until we start to hold them accountable. Reporter: In the trial of officer Derek chauvin, the prosecution rested their case today. Just miles from where George Floyd took his last breath, another black life cut short and another family left grieving. He was a good father. He loved his son. And he wanted to see him grow up. Reporter: Left in the wake, a son without a father.- I'm just going to take it one day at a time. Reporter: And a mother facing the unbearable pain of burying her child. He just had his whole life taken away from him. We had our hearts pulled out of our chests. He was my baby.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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