Wright’s mother Katie, however, later questioned whether even justice would be enough.
“Unfortunately there’s never going to be justice for us,” she told reporters Thursday.
Would justice “bring our son home to us, knocking on the door with his big smile coming in the house, sitting down eating dinner with us, going out to lunch, playing with his one-year-old, almost-two-year-old son, giving them a kiss before he walks out the door,” she added. “So justice isn’t even a word to me.”
Wearing a plaid button-down shirt, Potter appeared remotely from the office of her attorney. She spoke only once, saying “Yes I am” when the judge asked if she was present. Her attorney, Earl Gray, waived the reading of the criminal complaint. Her preliminary hearing will be on May 17.
“The charge is a no-brainer; I don’t think anyone expected anything less,” Wright family attorney Jeffrey Storms told CNN Thursday morning.
Wright’s relatives “believe that this charge is obviously a good initial step toward trying to get justice, but there ultimately is no such thing as whole justice in this case, because the family can’t have their loved one back,” Storms said.
Hours later, members of Wright’s family held a news conference with their lawyers.
Katie Wright said she wants accountability — “If that even happens” — but she still has to bury her son.
“We’re still never going to be able to see our baby boy that we’re never going to have again,” she said. “So when people say justice, I just shake my head.”
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump said Wright’s mother will see her son’s body at a funeral home Thursday for the first time since the shooting.
Wright’s funeral will be held April 22 at 12 p.m. CT, Crump said. The funeral will be held at New Salem Missionary Baptist Church, where the family held their news conference today. The Rev. Al Sharpton will deliver the eulogy, Crump said.
Daunte Wright’s son’s grandmother says charges against officer who shot him not enough
In a separate interview, the grandmother of Daunte Wright’s son said she doesn’t believe the charges against the officer are harsh enough.
“I am very upset, how he was killed, very upset that the officer is not charged, I guess in my opinion, more severely at this point. I hope that changes,” Erica Whitaker said.
Wright’s son, Daunte Wright Jr. was born prematurely, Erica Whitaker said.
“His dad was a very good person,” Whitaker said, adding that he was “very attentive” and was helped her daughter while their son was in the NICU for months after his birth.
Erica Whitaker told reporters Wright was co-parenting with her daughter and “was a very good dad.”
“I’m angry. I’m hurt that he will not have his dad,” Erica Whitaker said. “He will have pictures. He will have history. He will have family that tells him about his dad on both sides of family. But he will not have his biological father. And no one can replace his biological father.”
Wright’s child’s mother Chyna Whitaker said she’s “really hurt” by the loss of her son’s father.
“That’s a lot that they took from me. I just hope that justice is served,” she said.
Potter neglected her duties as an officer, officials say
Potter shot Wright as he resisted, police said; Potter’s then-chief, Tim Gannon, said earlier this week Wright appeared to mistake her gun for her Taser. Gannon resigned this week.
But prosecutors say Potter, 48, is nevertheless responsible and accountable.
At Thursday’s news conference, Wright’s aunt, Naisha, held up a picture of a Glock and one of a Taser.
“Y’all see the difference? This is a Taser. This is a Taser. But no, my nephew was killed with this, a Glock,” she said.
Someone convicted of this would face a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $20,000. CNN has sought comment from Potter’s attorney, Earl Gray.
Potter, who resigned as a Brooklyn Center police officer this week, posted bail and was released from custody Wednesday, online records show.
Protesters gathered for fifth straight night
Tensions had eased on Wednesday night, police said.
“About 24 arrests” were made, he said, which was significantly lower than the previous nights. Most of those arrested in Brooklyn Center were not residents of the city, Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson said.
And for the second night in a row, no reports of looting or fires set in Brooklyn Center were made, Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said.
“My message to all who are demanding justice for (Daunte Wright) and for his family is this: Your voices have been heard, now the eyes of the world are watching Brooklyn Center and I urge you to protest peacefully and without violence,” Elliott said Wednesday.
What body camera footage and a court document show
According to a criminal complaint filed against Potter, she and an officer who she was training pulled Wright over Sunday in Brooklyn Center.
During the stop, the officers learned Wright had a warrant for his arrest for a gross misdemeanor weapons charge, and Potter’s trainee asked Wright to exit the car, and told him he was under arrest, the complaint reads.
Police body camera footage of the encounter was released Monday, the day after Wright’s death.
The footage shows Wright standing outside his vehicle with his arms behind his back and an officer directly behind him, trying to handcuff him. An officer tells Wright “don’t,” before Wright twists away and gets back into the driver’s seat of the car.
Potter “pulled her Glock 9mm handgun with her right hand and pointed it at Wright,” the office of Washington County Attorney Pete Orput said in a news release Wednesday.
The officer whose camera footage was released is heard warning the man she’s going to use her Taser on him, before repeatedly shouting, “Taser! Taser! Taser!” It’s at this point, Orput’s office says, that Potter “pulled the trigger on her handgun” and fired one round into Wright’s left side.
“Wright immediately said, “Ah, he shot me,” and the car sped away for a short distance before crashing into another vehicle and stopping,” the news release reads.
Then, the officer is heard screaming, “Holy sh*t! I just shot him.”
An ambulance was called, and Wright was pronounced dead at the scene, Orput’s release reads.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension examined Potter’s duty belt and found her handgun is holstered on the right side of her belt, while the Taser is on the left side, according to Orput’s news release.
The Taser is yellow with a black grip and is set in a straight-draw position, “meaning Potter would have to use her left hand to pull the Taser out of its holster,” reads the release, citing the criminal complaint.
Potter is still entitled to benefits following her resignation, though it is not clear what those benefits are, acting City Manager Reggie Edwards said.
Reacting to the manslaughter charge, another Wright family attorney, Benjamin Crump, released a statement saying, “While we appreciate that the district attorney is pursuing justice for Daunte, no conviction can give the Wright family their loved one back.”
“This (shooting) was no accident. This was an intentional, deliberate and unlawful use of force,” Crump’s statement reads.