Daunte Wright Shot, Killed by Police During Traffic Stop
Daunte Wright Killed in Shooting Brooklyn Center Police are Calling an Accident
20-year-old Daunte Wright was shot and killed Sunday during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center appears to be the result of an officer’s “accidental discharge” of a firearm, Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said Monday during a press conference. Family members identify the man as Daunte Wright.
The female officer who fired the shot, who Gannon said was of “senior” standing,” is on paid administrative leave while the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension conducts an independent investigation. The officer could be heard yelling, “Taser, Taser, Taser,” before the fatal shot was fired.
“As I watched the video and listened to the officer’s commands, it is my belief that the officer had the intention to deploy their Taser, but instead shot Mr Wright with a single bullet,” Gannon said during Monday’s press conference.
Officers and medical personnel attempted life-saving measures, but Wright died at the scene.
Daunte Wright’s Father Testifies: ‘I Miss Him A Lot’
Jurors in the Kim Potter trial heard continued testimony Wednesday from a Brooklyn Center police weapons instructor, as well as a witness provided by the state who reviewed the Potter case. The court also heard from Arbuey Wright, Daunte Wright’s father. Potter is charged with manslaughter for fatally shooting Wright during a traffic stop on April 11.
Arbuey Wright, 42, took the stand to answer questions about what it was like to be Daunte’s father. Daunte was the oldest of three children that Arbuey shared with his wife, Katie Bryant.
“The relationship with the younger sisters was like a big brother,” answered Wright when asked by prosecutor Erin Eldridge how he got a long with his siblings. “[Daunte] joked a lot”
Wright mentioned how he often got together for cookouts with his son and said Daunte loved to play basketball.
During further testimony, Wright said he was his son’s boss when they worked together at Famous Footwear. He said his last day working with his son was at the beginning of the pandemic.
Wright also explained what it meant to Daunte to be a father.
“I was so happy for him because he was so happy. He was so happy about Jr.,” said Wright, referring to 1-year-old Daunte Jr. “I miss him a lot, every day.”
Daunte’s Mother Testify in Kim Potter Trial
Katie Bryant shared to the jury the day she learned her 20-year-old son was fatally shot.
Bryant said she was on the phone with her son using a Facebook app before her son had been shot by police.
“I heard the officer tell Daunte ‘No.’ And I heard Daunte say, ‘No I’m not.’ It sounded like he said ‘Don’t run.’ Daunte said, ‘No, I’m not.’ I heard somebody say to someone ‘hang up the phone.’ And that’s all I heard,” said Bryant, when she broke down on the stand.
The call was disconnected.
Wright’s girlfriend was in the passenger seat next to Daunte when she reconnected with his mother through Facetime. The passenger answered and she said “They shot him” and showed Bryant her son’s body in the vehicle with her phone.
Bryant called 911 to get the location of the shooting, which was near 63rd Avenue and Kathrene Drive. That’s where she said she saw her son’s body lying on the ground covered with a white sheet.
“I was so distraught. I didn’t know what was happening,” said Bryant. “I could tell it was him because it was his tennis shoes.”
Bryant said she gave her son $50 to get gas and a car wash the day her son was shot. It was revealed during testimony that her son did not have a driver’s license, nor insurance for the vehicle, which Bryant said was given to her son. She was not aware her son had an outstanding warrant for a weapons violation.
Brooklyn Center Issues Curfew After Shooting to Curb Riots
The officer-involved shooting happened around 2 p.m. Sunday in the 6300 block of Orchard Ave. in Brooklyn Center. The incident led to protests, unrest and looting of Brooklyn Center businesses. Governor Tim Walz has ordered a 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew that impacts all cities within Hennepin, Ramsey and Anoka counties.
Gannon says the driver had an outstanding warrant, but could not reveal further details. Court records revealed Wright had faced charges for first-degree aggravated robbery.
The bodycam footage shows that officers were trying to take Wright into custody. That’s when Wright re-entered the vehicle and tried to drive away. A fatal shot came moments after. The vehicle traveled several blocks before crashing into another vehicle. A passenger in Wright’s vehicle sustained non-life threatening injuries. Occupants of the other vehicle were not hurt.
Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott addressed the media and offered his opinion on the situation.
“We cannot afford to make mistakes that lead to the loss of life of other people in our profession. And so I do fully support releasing the officer of her duties,” Elliott said.
A press conference involving Chief Gannon and city leaders can be seen below.
Protests and Looting Followed Officer-Involved Shooting
Meanwhile, people congregated at the scene on Orchard Avenue following the shooting Sunday afternoon. When officers left that area, protestors moved to outside of the police station. Eyewitness footage showed one, perhaps two, Brooklyn Center squad cars vandalized.
There were also reports of someone shooting at the Brooklyn Park police station, but no injuries were reported.
Public officials weighed in as well.
I am closely monitoring the situation in Brooklyn Center. Gwen and I are praying for Daunte Wright’s family as our state mourns another life of a Black man taken by law enforcement.
— Governor Tim Walz (@GovTimWalz) April 12, 2021
The officer shooting in Brooklyn Center today is tragic. We are asking the protesters to continue to be peaceful and that peaceful protesters are not dealt with with force.
— Mayor Mike Elliott (@mayor_elliott) April 12, 2021
There were also numerous instances of looting around the Shingle Creek Crossing shopping center, which includes Walmart.
Looted shops in Shingle Creek Crossing Shopping Center in Brooklyn Park #Minnesota this morning. Shopping center is closed. National Guard and media here but few other people @MPRnews pic.twitter.com/c67F6hvRCc
— Andrew Krueger (@akpix) April 12, 2021
Mother of Daunte Wright Recalls Phone Call During Arrest: ‘I Never Imagined This Was What Was Going to Happen’
It was another emotional day Tuesday following Sunday’s fatal police shooting in Brooklyn Center. With chants of “say his name, Daunte Wright, say his name, Daunte Wright,” family, friends and supporters of the 20-year-old Black man who was killed called for justice during a rally in Minneapolis.
The mother of Daunte Wright, Katie Wright, spoke at the rally. She recalled the phone call she had received from her son as he was pulled over at precisely 1:47 p.m. Sunday. Katie Wright says her son got pulled over because he “had air fresheners hanging in the rearview mirror,” her son told her. The officers asked her son to put the phone down and get out of the car. Wright says she could hear a scuffle ensue.
“I never imagined this was what was going to happen. I just thought maybe he was being arrested,” Wright said.
“And then when I called back, the girl [Daunte] said he had in the car, answered the phone, and it was on FaceTime, and she said …she was crying and screaming… and she said, ‘they shot him.’ And she pointed the phone toward the driver’s seat, and my son was laying there, unresponsive. That’s last time I’ve seen my son, the last time I’ve heard from son, and I’ve had no explanation, since then.”
Also at the rally was the family of George Floyd, who died last May under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer.
The family says the 20-year-old Wright had a “big personality” and “a smile that could light up a room.”