Brooklyn Center officer grabs, threatens to jail Daunte Wright's mom

Kate Wright holds her wrist
Katie Wright at a news conference outside Brooklyn Center Police headquarters on Thursday.
Matt Sepic | MPR News

Updated: 7:34 p.m.

The mother of a man killed by Brooklyn Center police last year says an officer there threatened to arrest her for legally filming a traffic stop and arrest Wednesday night.

Katie Wright — the mother of Daunte Wright — was recording from the opposite side of Highway 252 when an officer walked across traffic, demanded her driver's license, threatened to put her in jail and grabbed her wrist.

Wright says she was concerned about the people being detained.

“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 Thursday news conference.

"What I was there for was to make sure that either they go home or they go to jail, they don't go to a funeral home and have their parents view their body later on."

Wright posted a video of the interaction that shows the officer grabbed her wrist less than 10 seconds after confronting her.

The city says officers were helping another agency "on a high-risk stop as part of a homicide investigation."

Body camera footage the city released corroborates Wright's account and shows that, before the officer walked over to Wright, someone he was detaining appeared to say “she recording over there — I don’t want my face on camera cause I don’t know what the (expletive) is going on.”

Police video also shows the officer telling Wright, “you can’t sit on the side of the road.” Her vehicle appeared to be parked on the left shoulder of the road. It is not clear if the officer was threatening to arrest her for where she was parked or for recording.

Wright said she wants the officer to be fired.

“I don’t want a police officer like that patrolling our community. He escalated a situation that didn’t need to be escalated. Just think about it – I’m a white woman. He chose to stand there and be that aggressive with me just recording. What would he have done if it was a young 20 year old black man? I guarantee they would have been on the ground abused handcuffed and who knows what else.”

Officials did not say if the officer is being disciplined.

Chuck Valleau, president of the Brooklyn Center Police Department union, said in a statement that the officer was “professional” and claimed the Wright family does not have “free reign to stalk, harass or threaten any of our officers.”

A man speaks at a news conference about police
Activist Cortez Rice speaks at a news conference in Brooklyn Center on Thursday. Rice's son was killed outside a school in Richfield earlier this year while he was in jail on a probation violation after.
Matt Sepic | MPR News

Cortez Rice, the father of 15-year-old Jahmari Rice who was killed in February outside South Education Center in Richfield, Minn., said Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott met with Wright and him after the incident and supported them.

Daunte Wright’s brother Damik Bryant and activist Chaz Neal also stood with Katie Wright. The three men interrupted a separate news conference earlier hosted by Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, criticizing him for asking for more money for prosecutors.

Former Brooklyn Center officer Kimberly Potter is serving a two-year prison sentence after a Hennepin County jury convicted her of manslaughter for killing Daunte Wright, 20, during a 2021 traffic stop. Potter said that she confused her Taser and handgun.

MPR News editor Kaila White contributed to this story.

Correction (May 6, 2022): This story has been updated to correct Damik Bryant's last name.

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