Daunte Wright and George Floyd share a lot in common, though the two men never met. Both were Black fathers killed by police. Both were in the Minneapolis area. And on Tuesday, it was revealed that the two men had a more personal connection: Floyd’s girlfriend Courteney Ross was Wright’s former teacher.
Wright’s aunt, Naisha Wright, revealed the connection at a press conference alongside Floyd’s family and attorney Ben Crump on Tuesday, April 13, 2021.
“My nephew was 20 years old, 20 years old,” she said. “He was loved. He was ours.”
Naisha Wright then emphasized her T-shirt, which had a picture of George Floyd with a mask over his mouth that read, “I can’t breathe.”
“The craziest thing is to find out today that my family has connections to this man, to this family. His girlfriend was a teacher for my nephew. My nephew was a lovable young man. His smile, oh lord, the most beautiful smile. Ya’ll took that.”
Wright was shot and killed by Minneapolis Police Officer Kim Potter on Sunday, amid the trial of Derek Chauvin, the officer who kneeled on Floyd’s neck for more than 9 minutes last summer. Potter, a 26-year-old police veteran, killed 20-year-old Wright during a traffic stop. She apparently meant to use her Taser instead of her handgun, according to Police Chief Tim Gannon.
Potter, along with Gannon, have since stepped down from their positions.
Ross confirmed her connection to Wright to the Washington Post on Tuesday afternoon, telling the outlet that Wright attended Edison High School while she was a dean. He was a “silly boy, as goofy as can be,” and “needed a lot of love,” Ross told the Washington Post.
She also said that one of the last times she saw him was when she and Floyd were walking through Brooklyn Center in the summer of 2019. They saw him being confronted by police.
One year after this incident, Floyd was killed by police just miles away from where his and Wright’s paths crossed. Wright’s fate occurred not even a full year later.
“Students like Daunte needed more resources but they never got more resources,” Ross told the Washington Post. “Our system doesn’t serve kids like Daunte. And now I’m seeing, more than ever, this system I once believed in, we’re done doing what we need to be doing to protect Black life.”
CBS News has reached out to Edison High School for further details about Ross’ employment and Wright’s attendance.
Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, stood alongside the Wright family on Tuesday, saying the Floyd family “will stand in support” of them.
“The world is traumatized … Police officers are killing us, and we are being murdered at a rate I cannot imagine,” Floyd said. “We’re here and we will fight for justice for this family, just like we’re fighting for our brother.”
“There’s a time for change,” he added, “and that time is now.”