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Prosecutors question witnesses after emotional day of testimony in Kim Potter trial

Prosecutors question witnesses after emotional day of testimony in Kim Potter trial
Former Brooklyn Center, Minn., police officer Kim Potter shot Daunte Wright during a traffic stop in April. Photo courtesy of the Hennepin County Jail

Dec. 9 (UPI) -- The passenger in Daunte Wright's car at the time of his death testified Thursday in the manslaughter trial of former Minnesota police officer Kim Potter.

Alyana Albrecht-Payton recounted calling for Wright to speak after he was shot by Potter during a traffic stop. The former police officer in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center has pleaded not guilty to first- and second-degree manslaughter charges.

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"I tried to scream his name," Albrecht-Payton, 20, said during the trial. "'Daunte, please say something please. Just talk to me.' I know he tried. I know he wanted to because I replay that image in my head daily."

Wright, the 20-year-old son of a Black father and White mother, was driving in Brooklyn Center when he was pulled over by Potter for an expired registration. She and her partner attempted to arrest Wright after finding that he had an outstanding warrant.

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During a confrontation, Potter shot and killed Wright. She has said she intended to draw her stun gun rather than her firearm.

Prosecutors argue that Potter, a 26-year-veteran of the Brooklyn Center force and field training officer, should have known the difference between her firearm and stun gun.

Potter is expected to testify in her own defense during the trial. If convicted, she faces up to a decade in prison.

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After the shooting, Wright's vehicle crossed the center line and collided with another vehicle.

Albrecht-Payton, recalled hearing a sound like a "boom, the bang of the gun" after police pulled the car over.

"Then I remember just looking up and seeing like another car coming directly toward us," she said.

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Albrecht-Payton said she had known Wright for nearly three weeks before the shooting and said they were in "the beginning of a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship" but had not made the relationship official.

She described Wright as uncharacteristically frightened during the encounter with police.

"He was really scared -- I'd never seen him like that before," she said. "If you know Daunte, he's really happy and positive and you can't be sad or depressed or angry around him."

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Video footage shown in court depicted the struggle between Wright and Potter's partner Anthony Luckey. It shows Luckey attempting to handcuff Wright while Potter warns, "I'm going to Tase you."

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Moments later, a single gunshot is heard.

The footage goes on to show Potter lamenting that she'd shot Wright, at times on the ground crying and while voicing concerns about going to prison.

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Albrecht-Payton testified that she could not recall some moments of the incident, such as the "scuffling," as she sustained a concussion, a fractured jaw, a lacerated lip and had to get stitches on her ear from the crash.

She did recall Wright gasping for air after the crash and remembered answering a video call from Wright's mother, Katie Bryant, and showing her Wright's body.

"I was delirious, I was just screaming, 'they just shot him, they just shot him," said Albrecht-Payton.

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During the first day of the trial, Bryant recalled talking with Albrecht-Payton on the video call.

"She was screaming. I was like 'what's wrong?' And she said that they shot him and she faced the phone towards the driver's seat," Bryant said.

During her testimony Albrecht-Payton said she felt sorry for turning the phone to Wright's body.

"I replay that image in my head daily," she added.

Bryant gave emotional testimony in court on Wednesday as she said she'd recognized her son's shoes sticking out from beneath a sheet covering his body when she arrived at the scene.

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The court was shown a police body camera footage that showed Bryant asking officers why her son was shot.

Patricia Lundgren, the 84-year-old woman, whose car collided with Wright's was the first person to take the witness stand on Thursday for prosecutors.

She testified that her husband, 86, was also in the car at the time and was unable to open the door and "didn't know where he was" after the crash.

Lundgren added that they went to the hospital the next day and she has noticed "a lot" of cognitive problems in her husband, who is now in hospice care, in the aftermath of the crash.

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