Potter’s Supervisor Who Responded to Daunte Wright Traffic Stop Testifies
Sgt. Mychal Johnson, Kim Potter’s supervisor, was the third officer who responded to the April 11 traffic stop of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center. Anthony Luckey and Kim Potter, who fired the fatal shot that killed Wright, were the others.
Johnson provided testimony Friday, including acknowledging he indiscreetly removed ammunition from the weapon in Potter’s holster after learning there was concern Potter may harm herself after the shooting.
“I don’t know what happened. I don’t know what I did,” cried Potter during bodycam video showed during Friday’s proceedings.
Johnson went to the passenger side of Wright’s white Buick while Luckey approached the driver’s side to arrest Wright for an outstanding warrant for possessing a gun without a permit. Johnson also learned Wright had a restraining order filed against him by an undisclosed woman. A woman was in the vehicle with Wright, identified as Alayna Albrecht-Payton, but was not the person who filed the restraining order.
Step by step, the prosecution had Johnson go through the moments leading up to the traffic stop to the time of the shooting, stopping video at two seconds at a time, as well as the aftermath, which included procedures that go in place with an officer-involved shooting.
Johnson said he removed Potter’s Glock used to shoot Wright to preserve evidence, which is standard in police-involved shootings.
“Due to her mental state of not knowing what she might do, I knew that her firearm was a piece of evidence at that time, so I removed her firearm, and put it my holster and put my gun in her holster so that evidence was preserved,” testified Johnson.
Johnson stayed with Potter and Luckey until two other sergeants arrived at the scene of the shooting.
‘I thought at the time it was a Taser’
At the time of the traffic stop, Johnson said he opened the passenger door when he saw Wright resisting arrest.
Johnson said the passenger, Albrecht-Payton, didn’t put up any resistance. The officer said he pushed the shift lever in the vehicle toward the park position and didn’t know if the engine was on at the time. He also said he tried to turn keys toward the off position.
As Wright broke away from officer Luckey and got back into the vehicle, Johnson said he moved both of his hands to Wright’s right arm to prevent Wright from shifting the vehicle and attempt to put him into a handcuffing position.
That’s when he heard officer Potter’s voice.
“I heard the verbal command of ‘Taser! Taser! Taser!” said Johnson when questioned by prosecutor Matthew Frank.
“And then what happened?” asked Frank.
“And then I heard a loud pop,” Johnson said.
Frank asked, “And did you know what the loud pop meant?”
“I thought at the time it was a Taser.”
Johnson said he didn’t know Wright’s physical condition before Wright’s vehicle crashed into another down the street.
‘By state statute, yes’
During defense cross-examination, attorney Earl Gray asked Sgt. Johnson what could have happened to him as he was leaning into the vehicle and Wright attempting to drive away.
Johnson said he could have been “dragged.”
Gray asked about the possibility Johnson could have suffered serious injuries or “even killed,” to which Johnson replied, “yes.”
Asked Gray, “If an officer in your position, officer Potter, trying to stop him from resisting with you and resisting Luckey, would it be fair for that officer to use a firearm to stop him?”
Johnson replied, “By state statute, yes.”
During the cross-examination phase, Johnson responded “yes” when asked if he considered Potter “a good co-worker.”
The veteran officer also said Potter never received a complaint of excessive force during her time with the Brooklyn Center Police Department.
Johnson wore a suit to Friday’s court testimony. He obtained his peace officer’s license in 2005 and became a police sergeant with the Brooklyn Center Police Department in 2019. Johnson left his Brooklyn Center job in October. The former Brooklyn Center cop now works as a patrol major for the Goodhue County Sheriff’s Office.
The trial resumes at 9 a.m. Monday. Judge Regina Chu adjourned at about 2:30 p.m. Friday due to the afternoon snowfall.