Doc Rivers made it clear that he’s not a judge or on a jury.
So the 76ers coach doesn’t know what should happen to Kim Potter, who fatally shot Daunte Wright, an unarmed Black man on Sunday. Potter, a white police offer who killed Wright during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minn., was charged Wednesday with second-degree manslaughter. Potter, a 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center Police Department, submitted her resignation of Tuesday.
“I don’t know where that goes or what they should do,” Rivers said of the charge. “I really don’t. I’m just more concerned that the same outcomes keep happening where too many Black men, in general, are getting shot or arrested or pulled over.
“And so, that’s far more my focus more than the punishment. I mean, that’s up to whatever the lawmakers in Minnesota do.”
» READ MORE: Inquirer’s Sixers beat writer: I am George Floyd
The Brooklyn Center Police Department released body camera footage of the traffic stop Monday. The video showed two officers approaching Wright’s car. Potter was standing behind them.
Wright broke free as the officer on the driver’s side of the vehicle began to handcuff him. After a struggle ensued, Wright jumped back into the driver’s seat of the car. Threatening to taser him, Potter shouted, “Taser!” before shooting Wright. After Wright drove off, the car traveled several blocks before colliding with another vehicle.
The incident rocked the Minneapolis suburb a few miles from where George Floyd was killed during a police arrest in May.
Rivers was asked what he thinks has to happen for us to stop having “here we go again” discussions concerning white police officers killing unarmed Black males in America.
“This has been going on a long time,” he said. “We forget way back in the ’50s and ’60s, it was the police that were blocking the voting polls. That wasn’t people. That was the police. So it’s an issue.”
Rivers’ father, Grady, was a well-respected police officer in Maywood, Ill., a township just west of Chicago. Grady Rivers rose to lieutenant while serving 30 years on the force. So Doc Rivers knows for a fact that there are a lot of good cops.
He thinks the focus should be on the police unions.
“I think that’s where our energy should go,” he said, “because we have to take out this situation where you feel like you will get away murder because you’re protected. When you take that away, I think there would be change.”