Court Battles

Girlfriend says Daunte Wright ‘was just gasping’ after shooting by officer

Associated Press/Morry Gash

The girlfriend of Daunte Wright, who was in the car when he was shot by a white police officer in Minneapolis in April, testified at trial on Thursday that she “didn’t know what to do” as her boyfriend was “just gasping” next to her after he was struck by the bullet.

Alayna Albrecht-Payton said she scrambled to save his life — grabbing a towel or sweater in the car — as he bled out, The Associated Press reported. She apologized to Wright’s mother for answering a Facetime call from her after he was shot, showing his mother her son in his final moments.

Opening arguments began Wednesday for the trial of former police officer Kim Potter, who is charged with first-degree and second-degree manslaughter for shooting and killing Wright.

Potter, 49, pulled Wright over for a traffic stop on April 11 in Brooklyn Center, a district in the Minneapolis area. Wright had expired tags and an air freshener hanging in his car. Hanging objects are against the law in the state.

After realizing Wright didn’t have a license, had expired insurance under someone else’s name and had a warrant out for his arrest on a weapons charge, Potter and another officer instructed him to step out of the car.

After initially stepping out of the vehicle, Wright tried to get back into the car. Potter, who said she was reaching for her taser, accidentally pulled out her gun and shot him.

Albrecht-Payton, 20, said Wright did not deliberately try to drive away and his hands were not on the wheel, AP reported.

The girlfriend says she and Wright had just started a relationship. They were smoking marijuana that morning and driving around the city to get gas and a car wash before they were pulled over, CBS Minnesota reported. She remembers Wright being extremely scared during the traffic stop and said she was also terrified.

“I remember hearing the boom, the bang of the gun,” she said.

State prosecutors argue Potter violated her training, negligence that led to the death of a young man.

The defense acknowledges Potter made a mistake but argues Wright was attempting to flee and police had reasonable suspicion he had a gun in the car.

Police-involved deaths have shook Minneapolis in the past two years. In 2020, the murder of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer in the city ignited large-scale protests nationwide. The officer who knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes was convicted earlier this year.

Potter faces more than seven years if convicted of first-degree manslaughter charges and four years if convicted of second-degree manslaughter.

Tags court trial Daunte Wright Daunte Wright killing Kim Potter Kim Potter trial Minneapolis Minnesota Minnesota Police Department Police shooting

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