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Protest in memory of Daunte Wright held in La Crosse

Brad Williams

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Last summer, a name spoken often on the streets of La Crosse was George Floyd.  This year, the name Daunte Wright may be invoked as well at local protests against racism, such as one held Thursday night at Riverside Park. 

The event came four days after Wright, a 20-year-old black man, was shot and killed by a white policewoman in the Twin Cities area. 

Brianna Washington of La Crosse was one of the organizers of Thursday’s event, as part of a local group called Black Student Leaders. 

Washington argues that since Floyd died in police custody last May, she doesn’t see less racism…but rather, more attempts to hide it.

“People started realizing, whoa, like, ‘I can’t continue to do this,'” she said. “I would notice like even in my workplace, people would kinda be just more under the table about it.”

About 100 people listened to speakers at the Riverside bandshell before a peaceful march downtown, similar to demonstrations last year following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis while he was being held down to the ground by a police officer.   

The ongoing trial of former officer Derek Chauvin was a common topic of discussion at the Riverside event, with some speakers suggesting that an impartial jury could not be found for the trial, and wondering, with so much video evidence implicating Chauvin in Floyd’s death, why the case even went to trial.

“It makes me angry that people are still treating black people like below them,” said one local speaker named Jasmine, “like they aren’t worthy to live a great life, that they can’t amount to anything, that they’ll never go to college, that they’ll never graduate high school.”

Speakers also asked the question repeated often since Wright’s death, wondering how the accused former officer who shot him could have mistaken a pistol for a Taser.

   

   

         

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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