January 19, 2022

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Rookie cop on training day with Kim Potter says Daunte Wright did NOT reach for a gun – Daily Mail

8 min read

The rookie Brooklyn Center Police officer who was training with Kim Potter on the day she fatally shot a black man during a traffic stop said the victim never reached for a gun, nor did he make any threatening gestures toward the officers.

Anthony Luckey made the shocking revelation as he testified on Wednesday as the state’s second witness in the trial of Potter, who is facing charges of first- and second-degree manslaughter in the death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright in Minneapolis in April. 

It came one day after jurors were shown never-before-seen dash cam footage of the moment on April 11 when Potter collapsed to the ground screaming ‘I shot him, oh my God’ after she had aimed her gun instead of her Taser at fleeing Wright.

Luckey said he heard Potter yell ‘Taser! Taser! Taser!,’ a warning officers are supposed to give so their partners have time to move away. But almost immediately he saw a flash and smoke and heard the bang of Potter’s gun.

Luckey was so close to Potter when the shot was fired that the casing hit him in the face as it discharged. He said he still had hands on Wright when the bullet hit.

Prosecutors played distressing incident that also showed how Wright sped off in his car shortly after being shot, before coming to a stop when he hits another vehicle down the road.   

Luckey’s account ultimately undermined the defense’s attempts to depict Potter’s decision to reach for a weapon as a justifiable move to protect the two officers in the event that Wright attacked or injured them in an effort to flee the scene.  

Potter, who resigned from the police force five days after the fatal shooting, claims she mistakenly grabbed her gun instead of a Taser during the traffic stop. 

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Pictured: Anthony Luckey, Kim Potter's trainee and witness to the shooting of Daunte Wright testifies on the first day of trial on Wednesday

Pictured: Anthony Luckey, Kim Potter’s trainee and witness to the shooting of Daunte Wright testifies on the first day of trial on Wednesday

Potter, a 26-year veteran in the force, claims she accidentally shot Daunte Wright when she reached for her gun instead of her taser during a traffic stop over his expired plates in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota April

Daunte Wright, 20, was pulled over for having an air freshener hanging from his rearview mirror and expired license plate tags

Potter, a 26-year veteran in the force, claims she accidentally shot Daunte Wright (right) when she reached for her gun instead of her taser during a traffic stop over his expired plates in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota 

The jury was shown body cam and dash cam footage of the dramatic moment Potter shot Wright dead after 'accidentally' pulling out her gun instead of her taser

The jury was shown body cam and dash cam footage of the dramatic moment Potter shot Wright dead after ‘accidentally’ pulling out her gun instead of her taser 

Luckey was training with Potter when they pulled Wright over for a traffic stop before discovering he had an outstanding warrant for a weapons charge, he said during his testimony Wednesday. 

Wright’s mother, Katie Bryant, 43, also testified on Wednesday while his girlfriend, Alayna Albrecht-Payton, 20, who was present in the car when the deadly shooting took place, took the stand on Thursday. 

In the footage shown at the trial, the stunned Potter can be heard shouting hysterically, ‘I just shot him. I grabbed the wrong f**king gun’ immediately after firing her weapon.

Body camera footage of the stop shows Wright breaking free and getting back into his car while the officers attempted to detain him.

The word ‘Taser’ can be heard being repeated several times before Wright is fatally shot.

During cross-examination, Luckey said he had an ‘intuition’ to pull Wright over due to the ‘behavior of the vehicle,’ claiming it had a right blinker on despite the vehicle being in a left-turn lane.

Luckey said Wright was pulled over in a ‘high crime area’ known for ‘a lot of shootings.’ 

Matthew Frank, the assistant Minnesota Attorney General who also led the prosecution of ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, asked Luckey if Wright or his girlfriend ever reached for a weapon or made any threatening moves.

The officer testified that they did not.  

Eldridge took the jury through the events from the moment Potter and her trainee, rookie officer Anthony Luckey first stopped Wright for having an air-freshener hanging from his rear view mirror and expired tags

Eldridge took the jury through the events from the moment Potter and her trainee, rookie officer Anthony Luckey first stopped Wright for having an air-freshener hanging from his rear view mirror and expired tags

A fellow cop is pictured on bodycam consoling Potter after Daunte Wright was shot and killed in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota

A fellow cop is pictured on bodycam consoling Potter after Daunte Wright was shot and killed in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota

The jury was shown harrowing video of Wright's distraught mother, pictured, arriving on the scene following a Facetime call in which she had seen her apparently lifeless son in his car

The jury was shown harrowing video of Wright’s distraught mother, pictured, arriving on the scene following a Facetime call in which she had seen her apparently lifeless son in his car

Wright's girlfriend, who was in the car with him during the fatal traffic stop, recalled the shot being fired and the crash that followed as Wright struck another vehicle after driving off

Wright’s girlfriend, who was in the car with him during the fatal traffic stop, recalled the shot being fired and the crash that followed as Wright struck another vehicle after driving off

Meanwhile, Albrecht-Payton took the stand at the start of the second day of the trial of Potter on Thursday, in testimony so emotional that the 20-year-old was at times almost unintelligible as she struggled to hold back her tears.

She told the court that she and Wright, both 20, were ‘just at the start’ of becoming boyfriend and girlfriend having only met a couple of weeks earlier over social media.

Later in the day the judge in the case, Regina Chu, slapped down a defense move for a mistrial. Potters lawyers argued unsuccessfully that prosecutors had spent the second day presenting ‘prejudicial evidence that had no relevance to the central questions of the case. 

But it was Albrecht-Payton who provided the day’s most dramatic evidence. She was the one who answered Wright’s mother Katie Bryant’s frantic calls, turning the camera of her phone onto Bryant’s dying son. 

She told the court about that call, saying: ‘It was his mom. She was asking what happened and I was delirious. I was screaming, ‘They shot him they shot him!’ and then I pointed the camera on him, and I’m so sorry I did that.  

Albrecht-Payton told the court that she did not know what to do in the aftermath of the shooting. All she had in her head was images of CPR she had ‘seen on the movies or on TV.’ 

‘I didn’t know what to do I just put my hands over his chest and tried to hold it and scream his name and have him talk to me,’ she said. 

‘I kept saying, ‘Daunte say something please, just talk to me,’ and he just didn’t. I know he wanted to. I replay that image in my head daily.’

In a brief cross-examination, defense counsel Earl Gray focused in on the hours before the traffic stop.

Albrecht-Payton admitted that she and Wright had split a joint at her mother’s home that morning but said that it didn’t have ‘any disabling effects,’ on either of them.

Albrecht-Payton said she did not recall if the car engine was off or on during the entire interaction with police.

She told Gray that she could only recall that ‘his hands were never on the wheel, only his foot was on the gas.’

Former Brooklyn Center cop Kim Potter, 49 (center), sits with her legal team during day two of her trial on Thursday

Former Brooklyn Center cop Kim Potter, 49 (center), sits with her legal team during day two of her trial on Thursday

Location of the stop and crash: Officers tried to arrest Wright after pulling him and his girlfriend over for a traffic violation at about 2pm on April 11 before realizing he had an outstanding warrant

Location of the stop and crash: Officers tried to arrest Wright after pulling him and his girlfriend over for a traffic violation at about 2pm on April 11 before realizing he had an outstanding warrant

Officer Daniel Irish, of Champlin Police Department, took the stand Thursday afternoon to tell jurors how he and other officers battled in vain to save Wright

Officer Daniel Irish, of Champlin Police Department, took the stand Thursday afternoon to tell jurors how he and other officers battled in vain to save Wright

Eldridge and Gray repeatedly circled back on this point in both of their rebuttals. Whether or not the car engine was running is a central part of the state’s case that Potter’s behavior was reckless and in breach of Brooklyn Center Police Department’s own taser policy.

The second witness of the day gave testimony in an apparent bid by prosecutors to bolster their claims that Potter was reckless and endangered others with her use of force.

Patricia Lundgren was the 84-year-old driver of the car struck by Wright when he lost control of his car after he sped away having been shot.

Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank questioned Lundgren, drawing out the sequence of the crash in which her husband, who was her passenger, was injured.

What Lundgren’s testimony lacked in drama was made up for by pictures of her smashed-up Subaru which were shown to the jury. 

Jurors were later shown disturbing footage of Wright being pulled from his car, at gun point, his head lolling back as he was carried unconscious and bleeding and placed on the ground.

The images of officers administering CPR were shown in court but not broadcast according to an earlier order from Judge Regina Chu.

She has also ruled that autopsy photographs will be shown to the jury but not seen via the trial livestream.

The footage was shown as Officer Daniel Irish, of Champlin Police Department, took the stand Thursday afternoon to tell jurors how he and other officers battled in vain to save Wright.

Irish told jurors that he had checked for a pulse on Wright’s wrist and neck but found none.

Jurors saw bodycam footage of hysterical Albrecht-Payton immediately after the crash as officers cuffed her, unclear of the situation with which they were dealing

Alayna Albrecht-Payton

Jurors saw bodycam footage of hysterical Albrecht-Payton immediately after Wright crashed his car after being shot

He placed a chest seal over the exit wound on Wright’s side then held the young man’s chin and kept his airways clear as a fellow officer administered CPR. 

Defibrillator electrodes were applied to his chest and side to determine whether there was enough of a heartbeat to respond to a shock. There was not.

Ultimately, he said, a paramedic told officers to stop and pronounced Wright dead on the scene. Irish then helped get a sheet to cover up his body.

On audio of the bodycam footage a paramedic can clearly be heard saying, ‘No pulse. Grab that sheet.’

Jurors were also shown several still images. 

The pictures were not broadcast and were shown to the court despite the defense’s objections. 

They included a picture of Wright slumped at the wheel of his car, an image of officers attempting to save his life and one of a paramedic checking for a pulse.

Potter, a police officer for 26 years before she resigned five days after the shooting, has been charged on two counts; first-degree manslaughter predicated on reckless use/handling of a firearm and second-degree manslaughter. 

With no criminal history, she is unlikely to receive the maximum sentence on either count should she be convicted. The maximum penalty for first degree manslaughter in Minnesota is 15 years but sentencing guidelines of 7-10 years mean she could be looking at less than half of that time behind bars.

But the prosecution has made it known that they intend to press for an upward departure from these sentencing guidelines and more prison time.  

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