Wright's girlfriend testifies of moments after shooting: 'I replay that image in my head daily'

9December 2021

The young woman who was a passenger in Daunte Wright’s car when he was fatally shot by ex-Brooklyn Center police officer Kimberly Potter testified Thursday of his final harrowing moments.

Alayna Albrecht-Payton, 20, opened the second day of testimony in Potter’s manslaughter trial in Hennepin County District Court. She told the jury that she and Wright had dated for about three weeks, and he was “just so nervous and flustered” during the April 11 traffic stop that led to his shooting when Potter fired her handgun after shouting “Taser, Taser Taser.”

Things unfolded quickly, Albrecht-Payton said under questioning by prosecutor Erin Eldridge, when Wright attempted to get back into the car after police tried to arrest him and she heard a bang.

“His hands were on the wheel, and that’s why I was confused, and I looked up and saw a car,” she said of Wright accelerating immediately after he was shot and striking another car head-on. “I put my hands on his chest, I kept saying ‘Daunte, Daunte, please say something, just talk to me,’ and he just couldn’t. I know he tried.”

“I replay that image in my head daily,” she sobbed.

Prosecutors played police body camera footage of Albrecht-Payton walking from the vehicle in a daze with blood dripping from her face as police handcuffed her. She testified that she suffered a lacerated lip and ear and broken jaw in the crash.

Under cross-examination, Albrecht-Payton told defense attorney Earl Gray that Wright had stayed with her the night before and they had smoked marijuana that morning, but not in the vehicle.

Next to testify was the woman who was driving in the area of the shooting and collided head-on with Wright’s vehicle. Patricia Lundgren, of Brooklyn Park, said the crash totaled her car and has had a debilitating affect on her husband, who was in the front passenger seat of the couple’s Subaru Outback.

Patricia Lundgren, 84, said the impact left her car “spinning around. … The [protective air] bags were all inflated. My husband was moaning.”

Moments later, “I heard the police demanding that the [other] car, ‘Get out! Get Out!’ ” Lundgren said.

Lundgren’s 86-year-old husband, Kenneth, has been “a lot worse since the crash” cognitively and has been receiving hospice care. “He has lots of problems now.”

Lundgren’s daughter, Denise Lundgren Wells, followed and substantiated her mother’s description of her father’s decline. He grew increasingly difficult to understand, talked about death, and “he became real belligerent [with medical personnel],” she said.

On Wednesday in Hennepin County District Court, emotional video was played for the jurors and to a global livestream audience. Videos from police body-worn and squad car cameras captured the shocked and plaintive reactions of Wright’s mother, Katie Bryant, and Potter moments and minutes after the shooting.

In the video, Bryant pleaded to reach her son’s body — identifiable to her by his gym shoes appearing in the street from under a white sheet.

Potter was a 26-year veteran officer in disbelief that she had fired her gun instead of her Taser. “I killed a boy,” she wailed, collapsing face-down and inconsolable in the roadside grass.

On the day Wright died, Bryant testified, her son came to her and asked for $50 for gas and a car wash. He then kissed his sleeping toddler and left.

Within minutes, his mother testified, Wright called her through Facebook messenger about being stopped for expired car registration tabs on the vehicle and an air freshener hanging from his rearview mirror. Wright didn’t have a driver’s license and asked his mother about car insurance.

She was disconnected. When called back over Facetime, a female told her Wright had been shot.

Testifying next was Officer Anthony Luckey, who was being trained by Potter and decided to follow Wright after seeing him use a right-turn signal while in the left-turn lane.

Luckey testified about his decision to stop and arrest Wright, noting that a records search found a warrant for Wright on a gross misdemeanor gun charge and protection order filed in court against him by a woman.

Luckey told how Wright resisted as he tried to handcuff him and as Potter grabbed his right arm, Wright got back in the vehicle and gripped the steering wheel.

Luckey said Wright was obviously trying to drive away as Potter said, “I’m gonna tase you” and “Taser. Taser. Taser.”

Under cross-examination from Paul Engh, Luckey said Wright should not have been driving. Along with marijuana residue on the console and the drug’s odor evident, Engh said, “You had a number of concerns about him?” Luckey replied, “Yes.”

Upon learning of the warrant, Engh said, “You couldn’t let him go?” Luckey replied, “No.”

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