Video: Brooklyn Center officer grabs phone from Daunte Wright's mother as she records traffic stop
BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. (FOX 9) - Videos show a Brooklyn Center police officer grabbing the wrist of Daunte Wright's mother while she was recording a traffic stop Wednesday evening.
Katie Wright, the mother of the 20-year-old fatally shot by Brooklyn Center police during a traffic stop last April, says she pulled over on the shoulder of Highway 252 to take video after seeing a large police presence around a single vehicle across the median on the other side of the highway.
She began live streaming on Facebook from her phone, showing multiple police cars with lights activated on the shoulder as cars passed by. In the 12-minute live stream, a Brooklyn Center police officer is seen crossing three lanes on the highway, climbing over the highway barrier lines, and approaching Wright.
The first three minutes of the Facebook live stream do not have audio because Wright says she was connected to her car's Bluetooth and on the phone with Toshira Garraway, an activist in the Twin Cities. After the encounter, Wright talks about the events in her car.
Wright, along with Garraway and other activists, held a news conference Thursday afternoon demanding the officer be fired by Brooklyn Center.
"I was not breaking the law," Wright said. "I was only doing what was right and what everybody else should do. And I'm standing here today because I don't want a police officer like that patrolling our community. He escalated a situation that didn't need to be escalated."
In a statement Thursday afternoon, the city wrote the traffic stop was related to a homicide investigation. After noticing a vehicle pulled off to the side of the vehicle, the city says the officers motioned for the driver to move her vehicle. The city claims the person who was arrested during the traffic stop told police "she did not want to be filmed and wanted the person filming to stop."
The city says officers weren't aware it was Daunte Wright's mother initially. The City of Brooklyn Center released the body-worn camera video of the officer involved in the incident "in an effort to promote public safety and dispel widespread rumor or unrest."
The body cam video shows the officer grabbing Wright's wrist and phone out of her hand before she steps out of her driver's seat. Wright then identifies herself as the mother of Daunte Wright.
In a statement, Brooklyn Center police union president Chuck Valleau defended the officers involved: "I want to thank Officer Lindstrom for his professional response and restraint during the incident last night. I sympathize with the Wright family for their loss, but it does not give them free reign to stalk, harass, or threaten any of our officers just because they are wearing a uniform. Our officers continue to come to work and bravely fight an impossible rise in violent crime in our city. We thank the residents of Brooklyn Center and others who continue to support us in our effort to keep Brooklyn Center safe."
Last month on April 11 marked one year since Daunte Wright's killing. Wright was killed after former officer Kim Potter apparently confused her Taser for her service weapon and shot Wright once. After a televised trial, Potter was convicted of manslaughter for Wright's killing and sentenced to two years behind bars.