NPR Ignores Daunte Wright’s Criminal History, Spreads Misinformation

  • Reporter misrepresents life and actions of BLM hero
  • Daunte Wright was not a “Prince” on the basis of his criminal record
  • Wright placed among other BLM heroes to promote false leftist narrative
  • NPR reporter omits context and suppresses facts about Wright’s character to feed misinformation about his death

OUR RATING: = Trash Journalism, aka the Daily Beast.

Indicted Outlet: Becky Sullivan | NPR | Link | Archive

NPR reporter Becky Sullivan covered Daunte Wright’s funeral in Minneapolis. Wright “was the 20-year-old Black man shot and killed by a police officer in Brooklyn Center, Minn., while resisting arrest during a traffic stop earlier this month,” according to Sullivan

Instead of reporting on the facts of Wright’s life, Sullivan ignores context to misrepresent the nature of Wright’s life and death by making premature conclusions about Wright’s innocence and ignoring crucial facts. The article reads like something of a eulogy itself, instead of an objective report. 

Major Violations:

  • Unbalanced
  • Opinion as Fact
  • Missing Context
  • Misrepresentation
  • Bad Sources

Sullivan takes her sources’ opinions as fact, thereby misrepresenting the nature of Wright’s death and ignoring the events leading up to the fatal interaction between Wright and the police. 

Sullivan also includes the list of the wealthy and famous who came to support and eulogize Wright: Gov. Tim Walz, state Attorney General Keith Ellison, Sens. Tina Smith and Amy Klobuchar, and Rep. Ilhan Omar. Other conveniently-placed facts such as “Wright’s death, [taking place] as the Chauvin trial was underway at a courthouse just 10 miles away,” are meant to legitimize Sullivan’s opinion that Wright’s death is just one of a string of unjust incidents in which black men are brutalized by the police. 

She quotes Wright’s mother and childhood friend who are in grief and disbelief over Wright’s death. This is the quote from the childhood friend:

“I know he wouldn’t want me to be sad, but I’m a little sad, a little mad, by the way he died,” Jones said. “Nobody expected him to [die] — especially not by the police.”

But is this an accurate picture? Is it unbelievable that Wright would have died by the hands of the police? If Sullivan had given us all the facts, Wright’s childhood friend would appear either greatly misinformed or very biased.

Before Wright was pulled over by the police, there was an open warrant for his arrest related to an aggravated armed robbery attempt in December 2019. 

Here’s a recap of this event according to Fox News, who obtained documents from Hennepin County District Court: [1] [2] [3] 

After going to a party at the house of two female friends, Wright and a friend stayed the night after they claimed they didn’t have a ride home. The next morning, one of the two women left  the apartment to get $820 in cash to pay the other for rent. “As Wright and Driver were waiting for their rides, the other woman who stayed behind said Wright allegedly blocked the door, preventing her from leaving. Wright then allegedly pulled a black handgun ‘with silver trim out from either his right waistband or his right coat pocket,’ pointed it at the woman and demanded the $820, the court documents say.” Wright told the woman “Give me the f—ing money, I know you have it,” and  “I’m not playing around.” Wright then allegedly choked the woman twice to get the money. “Wright was arrested and later released on $100,000 bail, which was later revoked because he allegedly possessed a firearm and was not keeping in touch with his probation officer.”

None of this activity strikes me as the kind of behavior that should make their friends surprised that they eventually died in a fight with police. 

Another “fact” Sullivan obscures is that according to officials Wright was pulled over for expired license places. Not, as his mother claims, because he had “an air freshener hanging from his rearview mirror, which is a minor infraction in Minnesota.” This is a pernicious tactic by the reporter. Reporting misinformation, even if it comes from a primary source, is always wrong. Publishing unverified hearsay is irresponsible and misleading to the reader. 

The events leading up to Wright’s death are not as clear-cut as they seem to left-wing political elites. While the police officer who shot Wright did so by accident, Wright was not the “the prince of Brooklyn Center,” as Al Sharpton says he was. 

Second, Wright’s death was not as simple as a “traffic stop that ended in Wright’s death,” as Sullivan says. According to Fox, “after failing to appear in court on charges that he fled from officers and possessed a gun without a permit during an encounter with Minneapolis police in June,” the police officers attempted to arrest Wright on an outstanding warrant. 

However, Wright resisted arrest and jumped back into his car. One of the police officers, after yelling “I’ll Tase you! I’ll Tase you! Taser! Taser! Taser!” accidentally pulled out her gun instead and fatally shot Wright [4]. The police officer’s mistake was a grave one, but it was not unprovoked. Wright, while being handcuffed, jumped back into his car and fought with officers in an attempt to drive away. This kind of response inevitably creates confusion and stress. 

If you notice in the video reporting from the event, there are some very selective edits of the bodycam footage in order to minimize the negligent actions by Wright during the traffic stop. This is not a “traffic stop” that ended tragically. The fuller unedited video shows the following negligent actions by Duane Wright:

  • Wright about to be cuffed, quickly pulling away from officers trying to handcuff him
  • Jumping into the driver’s seat, likely to try and drive away with his car
  • Fighting and assaulting the officers
  • Resisting arrest
  • Kicking and further assaulting the officers
  • Wright driving away

The entire episode lasts about 15 seconds. The full video would have been very easy to present to viewers and readers, but is very carefully ignored, edited and otherwise spliced so as to give the most favorable treatment to Wright.

It’s worth noting that the Taser is sometimes presented by the media as a non-lethal, or sometimes referred to as ‘less-than-lethal’, option for police, but at the other end the media often criticizes the many deaths from the Taser. [5] Tasers themselves seem to cause fatalities in blacks being tased more often than whites. [6]

Reuters documented 1,081 cases through the end of 2018 in which people died after being shocked by police with a Taser, the vast majority of them after 2000. At least 32 percent of those who died were Black, and at least 29 percent were white. [7] [8] 

32% of 1081 deaths is at least 346 dead black men from Taser from 2000-2018, or an average of about 29 per year. That number is slightly higher than the 21 unarmed black men per year who die from police shootings. Tasers are deployed much more often than firearms, accounting for an important distinction. Yet many of the media are hyping the threat that cops present from firearms, and often overlooking the similar threat to life as it relates to Tasers.

Though the officer made a serious mistake in drawing the wrong weapon, Wright is far from blameless in the situation. And the Taser itself is not a safe weapon either, any application by the police to use force in a situation is often a last resort. Wright’s actions necessitated that force, so he is clearly negligent in causing the fight, context that should not be ignored when reporting the story. The version of events presented by left-wing outlets like NPR is fundamentally a misrepresentation of events.

However, none of his guilt or circumstances that would give insight into his character are included in Sullivan’s NPR reporting. Instead, Wright is painted as an innocent victim who lived an upstanding life. By choosing a life of repeated crime, resisting arrest, and fighting police, Wright took unnecessary risks to his life and freedom. Given the events leading up to his death, it is clear Sullivan omits context to lionize Wright. 

OUR RATING = Trash Journalism, aka the Daily Beast.










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