Posted For: 🇺🇸 Kari ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ
The estate of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man fatally shot by a White police officer during an April traffic stop, was slapped with a third lawsuit on Monday – this time on behalf of a woman whom Wright allegedly choked and attempted to rob at gunpoint back in December 2019.
The new litigation comes a day before jury selection is expected to kick off Tuesday at the Hennepin County Courthouse in the trial for ex-Brooklyn Center police Officer Kim Potter, who is facing manslaughter charges in connection to Wright’s death. The shooting sparked protests when tensions were already high in the Twin Cities amid the trial for ex-Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, later convicted in the murder of George Floyd.
Mike Padden, the attorney handling all three civil lawsuits against Wright’s estate, provided a copy of the latest civil filing to Fox News Digital on Monday. It identifies the victim as a female adult Minneapolis resident by the initials “C.V.” and describes a December 2019 incident already explained in an initial arrest warrant filed by the Osseo Police Department.
According to the initial arrest warrant, Wright and a high school acquaintance, Emajay Maurice Driver, arrived for a party at an apartment in Osseo, in Hennepin County, Minnesota, but didn’t have a ride home, so the two women who rent the apartment allowed them to stay the night. On the morning of Dec. 1, 2019, one of the women left to take out $820 in cash to give to her roommate to pay rent. After paying her roommate, that woman left again for work as Wright and Driver were waiting for a ride.
The remaining woman told police that Wright remarked to Driver that he didn’t have to work that day and the two of them should “hit some stains,” which she understood as slang for robbing somebody. Once their ride arrived, the woman said she would leave with them but Wright turned around and blocked the door. Wright then pulled “a black handgun with silver trim” out and pointed it at the victim, demanding she hand over the rent money, which she had tucked into her bra, according to the complaint.
“Are you serious?” the victim asked, to which Wright replied, “Give me the f***ing money, I know you have it.” The complaint said she then asked him if he was serious and he said, “I’m not playing around.”
Wright placed his hands around the victim’s neck and choked her, until she managed to get free, kneel down and scream, according to the complaint. She yelled for them to leave and said that the cops were close. Wright threatened to shoot her and told her, “Give me the money and we will leave, give me the money and we will go.” Wright then allegedly tried to choke her a second time. The two men eventually gave up and left the scene in a white Cadillac without the cash.
The civil lawsuit filed in Hennepin County Monday accuses Wright of three counts – assault and battery, sexual assault, and intentional infliction of emotional distress related to the incident. Padden writes that Wright’s actions constitute sexual assault because he “tried to take the money by reaching under her shirt and physically touching her breasts.” Because Wright “subsequently lost his life in an unrelated high-profile matter,” Padden says “the charges were not fully litigated for his criminal conduct regarding C.V. before he passed away.”
“The conduct of Wright was extreme and outrageous and utterly intolerable in any civilized society,” Padden added.
Like the others, the latest civil filing seeks in excess of $50,000.
Ben Crump, who is representing Wright’s family, did not immediately return a request for comment. Wright’s family is pursuing a separate lawsuit against the city of Brooklyn Center. Crump’s team secured the $27 million settlement from the city of Minneapolis for Floyd’s family
The second lawsuit filed against the estate in July alleges that Wright and an accomplice robbed and carjacked Joshua Hodges, a 20-year-old Black man, on March 21, just weeks before Wright was killed. The accomplice allegedly opened the driver’s side door of Hodges’ parked 2004 Honda Civic in north Minneapolis and shot him in a leg, causing “massive bleeding” and fracturing his fibula, the civil complaint says.
Wright then allegedly beat Hodges, injuring his face, mouth and teeth. The two also allegedly stole Hodges’ cell phone and wallet before driving off. The complaint says the victim recognized Wright from the two having attended middle school together. Hodges was hospitalized.
It followed the first civil lawsuit filed in May against the estate, which accuses Wright of shooting then-16-year-old Caleb Livingston in the head on May 14, 2019 outside a gas station in north Minneapolis. The filing says the two were once childhood friends and Livingston’s first-ever sleepover was at Wright’s home, but the two had a falling out. Livingston survived the shooting but his mother, Jennifer LeMay, claims her son suffered “serious, disabling and permanent injuries.” The filing also cited Facebook photos allegedly showing Wright with a Smith and Wesson 9 mm handgun and alleges Wright was a member of the Red Tape street gang and had a criminal history since age 12.
The concrete barriers, chain-link fencing and National Guard soldiers that surrounded the courthouse for Chauvin’s trial are gone, but enhanced security will be in place for Potter’s trial — with fewer entry points and the closure of a parking garage, according to The Associated Press.
According to the criminal complaint against Potter, the officer Potter was training, Anthony Luckey, told Wright they stopped him the afternoon of April 11 for the air freshener hanging from his rear-view mirror and the car’s expired license plate tabs. Luckey then found an arrest warrant for a weapons violation. They went back to arrest him, joined by Sgt. Mychal Johnson.
Wright obeyed Luckey’s order to get out. But as Luckey was handcuffing him, Wright pulled away and got back in. As Luckey held on to Wright, Potter said, “I’ll tase ya.” The video then shows Potter, holding her handgun in her right hand and pointing it at Wright. Again, Potter said, “I’ll tase you,” and then two seconds later: “Taser, Taser, Taser.” One second later, she fired a single bullet into Wright’s chest.
“(Expletive)! I just shot him. … I grabbed the wrong (expletive) gun,” Potter said. A minute later, she said, “I’m going to go to prison.”
Ex-Brooklyn Center police Chief Tim Gannon went against advice from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension in choosing to release body-camera footage of the incident just days after it happened – and remarked during a news conference that the shooting was an “accidental discharge.”
Gannon would soon resign and go on to criticize Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott, who he says escorted activists to his news conference and caved under political pressure in snubbing due process for Potter. Another Brooklyn Center leader, City Manager Curt Boganey, was fired after also publicly advocating for due process, and Elliott’s office assumed emergency authority over the police department at the time.
Prosecutors allege that Potter committed first-degree manslaughter by causing Wright’s death while committing a misdemeanor crime, namely recklessly handling a gun, when death was reasonably foreseeable. The second-degree manslaughter count alleges that Potter acted with culpable negligence. Neither charge requires the intent to kill.
Potter, who resigned two days after the shooting, says she made an innocent mistake when she reached for her pistol instead of her Taser. But prosecutors insist Potter, an experienced officer, was trained to know better. The jury must decide whether Potter’s actions rose to recklessness or culpable negligence, as the law requires. The defense also argues that Wright was responsible for his own death because he tried to drive off from a traffic stop and could have dragged an officer to his death if Potter hadn’t intervened.
Potter’s trial will be livestreamed after the judge recently reversed course from an earlier August ruling against broadcasting the hearings. Hennepin County Judge Regina Chu cited the state of the coronavirus pandemic for her reversal and stressed that her decision to now allow the livestream was not influenced by protesters who just days before had shown up outside her downtown Minneapolis condominium.