This morning, Good Morning America released an exclusive interview with Aubrey and Katie Wright, the parents of Daunte Wright. During the interview with Robin Roberts, Katie painfully recounted the phone call with her son during what seemed like a routine traffic stop because he had air fresheners hanging from the rearview mirror.
Katie suggested Daunte give the officers the phone so that she can explain any concerns regarding his insurance information when they approached the car. When the officers came back and Daunte asked if he was in trouble, they told him they would explain after he stepped out of the vehicle. Once the phone was “put down pretty hard,” she described, she heard “scuffling and the girl that was with him screaming,” and the officer asking them to hang up the phone. After attempting to call back a few times, Katie received the most heartbreaking news about her 20-year-old son.
“The girl that was with him answered the phone and said that they shot him and he was laid in the driver’s seat, unresponsive,” Katie said crying. “I heard an officer ask her to hang up the phone again. After that, the last time I’ve seen my son. I haven’t seen him since.”
When Roberts asked why the situation “escalated” in the manner in which it did, Katie revealed that her son was “scared” and “afraid of the police.” She continued, “I’ve seen and heard the fear in his voice, but I don’t know why.”
Aubrey Wright, Daunte’s father, chimed in when Roberts shared reports that the officer meant to reach for her taser instead of her gun. “I cannot accept that. I lost my son. He’s never coming back,” Aubrey said in response to the alleged “accidental shooting,” as suggested by the police chief. “A mistake? That doesn’t even sound right. This is an officer that’s been on the force for 26 years.”
“My son was an amazing, loving kid. He had a big heart, he loved basketball, he had a two-year-old son that’s not gonna be able to play basketball with him,” Katie said woefully. “He had sisters and brothers that he loved so much. He was an uncle, a grandson. He had a smile that would light up the room; it was so big and bright. He was amazing and he’s my son. He just had his whole life taken away from him. We had our hearts pulled out of our chest. He was my baby.”
According to NPR, the officer identified as Kim Potter, a 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center, Minn., Police Department and Brooklyn Center Police Union president, was the officer who fatally shot Daunte.
According to reports shared by Brooklyn Center police Chief Tim Gannon during a press conference yesterday, Brooklyn Center Police pulled over Wright after noticing expired registration tags. Gannon further explained that after officers discovered that the 20-year-old had an “outstanding arrest warrant” for a “gross misdemeanor,” they attempted arrest. The police did not immediately have details about what the arrest was concerning. The family has also declined to openly talk about his past.
In the body camera footage that was released on Monday, the traffic stop was already going on. Wright was seen exiting the vehicle and turning around to be handcuffed, but when another officer began to arrest him, he pulled his hands away and “duck back into the car.” As Potter ran back to the car’s open door, she drew her handgun but continued to yell “Taser,” three times until a shot was fired. “Holy sh–, I just shot him,” Potter said as the vehicle sped off.
Wright, who was accompanied by his girlfriend Chyna Whitaker, was able to drive several blocks until colliding with another vehicle. According to the Minnesota Star Tribune via Heavy.com, Wright’s body was lying in the street for hours. Whitaker, who was the co-parent to her and Wright’s son Daunte, Jr., shared her thoughts on the loss of her boyfriend with CBS Minnesota.
“He just made you feel better when he came around, and I’m just hurt that he’s gone, and I can’t believe it,” Whitaker said during the on-camera interview. “He loved his son, and it’s not fair that his son won’t have his dad in his life.”
Wright’s death has been reportedly ruled as a homicide and the cause of death was a gunshot wound to the chest, according to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner. Wright‘s family has hired co-counsel Jeff Storms and civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who also represents the families of George Floyd and others who have lost loved ones to police brutality.
Social media communities have come together in support of Wright’s family including his parents, girlfriend, and son. Online users have also created a petition via Change.org in the fight for justice amidst Wright’s murder.