Katie Wright, the mother of 20-year-old Daunte Wright, is calling for the firing of a Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, police officer who she says tried to arrest her for filming a traffic stop.
Daunte Wright was shot and killed by Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter in April 2021 during a traffic stop. Potter was convicted of first and second-degree manslaughter in Wright’s killing and sentenced in February to two years in prison.
Less than three months after the sentence, Katie Wright says she saw a “high police presence” for a vehicle on Wednesday that was pulled over with at least one person in it. She estimated the person to be 20 or 25 years old. So she pulled onto the highway shoulder and began to film on her cell phone.
According to the ACLU of Minnesota, “You have the right to record police actions as long as you do not interfere with their activities and are not breaking any other law.”
“All I was doing was my civic duty to pull over and make sure that those babies got home safe to their families because I don’t want what happened to me to happen to any other families,” Wright said during a press conference on Thursday.
Wright posted the video on Facebook. Body camera video of the incident was also released Thursday by the city of Brooklyn Center.
The body camera video shows an officer helping arrest a suspect and place them into a police vehicle. Then the officer turns his attention across the street toward Wright and is heard saying “she’s getting a ticket” as another officer says, “Nah, don’t worry about it. Come on!”
Moments earlier, the person being arrested is heard telling officers, “I don’t wanna be on that camera over there. She’s recording over there, I don’t want my face on camera because I don’t know what the f**k’s going on.”
It’s not immediately clear if the person being arrested says that in reference to Wright or someone else.
The officer continues toward Wright across multiple lanes of traffic and asks for her driver’s license.
“You’re going to give me your driver’s license or I’m going to take you to jail for obstruction,” the officer says to Wright, who at this point is sitting in the driver’s side of her car with the door open filming the officer with her cell phone.
The officer then puts his hand on Wright’s wrist to pull her up and then takes the cell phone out of her hands.
He begins to lead Wright away from the car before she says, “You know who I am right?”
“You guys killed my son and I’m gonna videotape it,” she says and points in the direction of the traffic stop. “And if you take me to jail, I’m going to sue you.”
“You can’t sit on the side of the road!” the officer tells Wright.
“Do not ever touch me again,” she responds.
“I’ll send you a ticket in the mail,” the officer eventually says, to which Wright responds, “then send me a ticket.”
During Thursday’s press conference, Wright questioned why the officer chose to say he would give Wright a ticket even though another officer told him not to do so.
“I’m really sad to see how Ms. Wright was treated,” Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott told CNN.
It “seemed unnecessary to approach Ms. Wright,” Elliott said, adding that, “whatever was happening in the police situation that they were dealing with, had largely subsided.”
He also noted Wright is helping lead the city’s efforts in alternatives to 911 and the reason she, like many others across the country, decide to film police interactions is a “reflection of the level of mistrust that people have in law enforcement.”
A statement released by the city of Brooklyn Center Thursday read in part, “While assisting another agency on a high-risk stop as part of a homicide investigation, there was an encounter between Katie Wright and Brooklyn Center officers.” The city released the body camera footage “in an effort to promote public safety and dispel widespread rumor or unrest.”
Wright is calling for the officer to be fired.
“I don’t want a police officer like that patrolling our community,” Wright said. “He escalated a situation that didn’t need to be escalated.”
“I was only doing what was right and what everyone else should do,” she added.
The officer’s actions are still under review and any disciplinary decisions are “forthcoming,” the mayor told CNN.