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“The day that I got the phone call from my son—two days ago, at 1:47—was the worst day of my life,” said Katie Wright, speaking at an emotional press conference and flanked by grieving family members on Tuesday.
Shortly before his death Sunday, Wright said Daunte had called to tell her he’d just been pulled over by the police. She said she heard an officer ask him to get out of the car, some “scruffling,” and a demand to put the phone down.
When Wright called her son back to figure out what was going on, she said the woman in the car with Daunte answered the phone with FaceTime.
“She was crying and screaming, and she said that they shot him,” Wright said through tears. “And then she pointed the phone towards the driver’s seat and my son was laying there, unresponsive. That was the last time that I seen my son, that’s the last time I heard from my son. And I’ve had no explanation since then.”
Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, was fatally shot by Officer Kim Potter, a longtime veteran of the Brooklyn Center Police Department in Minnesota, who resigned on Tuesday. The police chief of Brooklyn Center, Tim Gannon, also submitted his resignation. Gannon said Monday that based on bodycam footage, he believed the shooting was unintentional; Potter shouted “Taser!” before shooting Wright with her gun.
Officials screened bodycam footage of the incident on Monday, showing officers trying to handcuff Wright, after which he jumps back into his vehicle, and is then shot. Police say they pulled him over because of an expired registration, and then discovered had an outstanding arrest warrant.
At the Wright family press conference on Tuesday in Minneapolis, Daunte’s aunt, Naisha Wright, spoke about Potter directly.
“She killed my nephew,” said Wright. “Every pistol, every Taser, it has a safety on it. She saw that she had to release that. I watched that video, like everybody else watched that video. That woman held that gun out in front of her for a long damn time.”
Chyna Whitaker, the mother of Daunte’s 2-year-old son, said she last saw him when she dropped their child off with his grandmother.
“I didn’t know that was going to be the last time I was going to see him,” said Whitaker. “Now my son, he don’t have a dad.”
“I’m just so messed up about it because I feel like they stole my son’s dad from him,” she added.
As snow fell on the crowd, the interconnectedness of the Black community of Minneapolis was illuminated when Naisha Wright said she’d just found out that day that George Floyd’s girlfriend, Courteney Ross, had been Daunte’s former teacher.
“The craziest thing is to find out today that my family has connections to this man, to this family,” Wright said, referring to Floyd.
Floyd’s death during an arrest last May 25 sparked an international reckoning about race and policing. The trial for Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than 9 minutes, is ongoing. Chauvin has been charged with second- and third-degree murder, as well as second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death. He could face up to 65 years in prison.
Toshira Garraway, the founder of Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence, joined the Wright family on Tuesday and voiced her frustration about about a lack of progress in the state’s efforts toward police reform.
“I want Minnesota to pay attention to the pain they have caused. We were in those legislative rooms, and they wouldn’t pass the bills,” said Garraway. “We was out here with our boots on the ground, we was meeting with the governor, we was meeting with the attorney general….they did not make the changes, and that is why Daunte is gone today.”