The parents of Daunte Wright are speaking out after the unarmed 20-year-old was fatally shot by a white police officer during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.
On Tuesday, Daunte’s father and mother, Aubrey and Katie Wright, spoke to “Good Morning America” co-anchor Robin Roberts about the Sunday incident, in which their son was the victim of what police say is an “accidental discharge” from an officer who was identified by Minnesota officials on Monday as Kim Potter.
"I lost my son — he's never coming back,” Aubrey said.
"I can't accept that — a ‘mistake,’ that doesn't even sound right. This officer has been on the force for 26 years. I can't accept that,” he added about Potter.
According to Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon, police initially pulled Daunte over for having an expired registration tag on his car, but later determined that he had an outstanding gross misdemeanor warrant.
As seen in officer-worn body camera footage, Daunte, standing by the open driver's-side door, wrestles free of his handcuffs as they are being applied. Wright then jumps back into his car and appears to try to drive off.
Gannon says the "the officer had the intention to deploy their taser but instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet.” The vehicle then traveled several blocks before crashing into another car.
Although Gannon says officers and medical personnel "attempted life-saving measures" on Daunte, he died at the scene.
A female passenger in the car, identified by Katie as Daunte’s girlfriend, sustained non-life-threatening injuries and was taken to a nearby hospital. The occupants of the other car that was struck were not injured.
As previously reported by other outlets, Katie told “GMA” that her son had called her during the traffic stop, and that he believed he was pulled over for having air fresheners hanging in his rearview mirror.
Katie says she told Daunte to take them down and to let her speak with police over the phone if they ask for his car insurance. That's when she heard police ask her son to step out of the vehicle.
"Daunte said, 'For what, am I in trouble?' I heard the phone getting put down pretty hard," she said. "And then I heard scuffling and the girl that was with him screaming, and I heard an officer ask for them to hang up the phone and then I didn't hear anything else."
"I tried to call back three, four times and the girl that was with him answered the phone and she said that they shot him and he was lying in the driver's seat unresponsive," she recalled. "And then I heard an officer ask her to hang up the phone again and then after that, that's the last time I've seen my son. I haven't seen him since."
Katie is still unclear as to why the situation escalated to the point of violence.
"I know my son was scared. He's afraid of the police, and I just seen and heard the fear in his voice," she added. "But I don't know why, and it should have never escalated the way it did."
While talking about Daunte, Katie described her son as "an amazing, loving kid" who "had a big heart," "bright" smile and "loved basketball."
"He had a 2-year-old son that's not going to be able to play basketball with him. He had sisters and brothers that he loved so much," she added. "He just had his whole life taken away from him. We had our hearts pulled out of our chests. He was my baby."
Overall, Aubrey and Katie want to see "justice served" and for Potter to be "held accountable for everything that she's taken from us."
The parents of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man who was shot and killed by a white police officer in a Minneapolis suburb on Sunday, said they "can't accept" the notion that their son's killing was "a mistake." https://t.co/gwMJmhAfUm pic.twitter.com/CWHQfUWDIH— Good Morning America (@GMA) April 13, 2021
In a Tuesday statement, Potter’s union announced that she has resigned from the police department after being placed on administrative leave.
“I have loved every minute of being a police officer and serving this community to the best of my ability, but I believe it is in the best interest of the community, the department and my fellow officers if I resign immediately,” she wrote in a letter to city officials.
Per The New York Times, Gannon announced his departure as well.