MINNEAPOLIS – The passenger in the car Daunte Wright was driving when he was pulled over by officers recounted her frantic attempts to revive Wright when she took the witness stand Thursday in the manslaughter trial of former Minnesota police officer Kim Potter.
Alayna Albrecht-Payton, her voice shaking, cried throughout her testimony as she told jurors about the moment Wright was shot and her frantic attempts to revive him after the shooting, which happened in April. After he was shot, Wright crashed the car he was driving into another car, then crashed into a fence.
“I tried to scream his name,” Albrecht-Payton, 20, recalled. “‘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.”
Potter, a veteran Brooklyn Center officer, is charged with first- and second-degree manslaughter in Wright’s death. She shot Wright while yelling “Taser” in a traffic-stop-turned-arrest in a Minneapolis suburb.
‘Worst day of my life’:Daunte Wright’s mom testifies at manslaughter trial of ex-Minnesota officer Kim Potter
Albrecht-Payton said she had known Wright for “two or three weeks,” describing their relationship as “the beginning a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship.”
A prosecutor asked Albrecht-Payton about what happened when police pulled the car over. Police body camera and dashcam videos show Wright initially got out of the car, but then pulled away from officers attempting to arrest him and got back in the driver’s seat. Albrecht-Payton said she does not remember “the scuffling.”
She recalled hearing a sound like a “boom, the bang of the gun. Then I remember just looking up and seeing like another car coming directly toward us.”
After the crash, Albrecht-Payton said she attempted to help Wright.
“I just remember trying to just get him up. I was the only one out of everybody there who was trying to help him. I was trying to push on his chest and call his name. And he wasn’t answering me,” she said.
Albrecht-Payton said Wright was “gasping” and “taking breaths of air.” She said she pressed on his stomach area because she “didn’t know exactly where he got shot.”
“I took my belt off and I grabbed whatever was in the car. I don’t remember if it was a sweater or a towel or blanket… I just grabbed whatever it was and put it on his chest like you know you see in the movie and TV shows. I didn’t know what to do,” she said.
Albrecht-Payton said that’s when she picked up a video call from Wright’s mother and turned the camera to point to Wright’s body in the driver’s seat. She added she was “sorry” she pointed the camera to Wright’s body.
“I was delirious. I was just screaming, ‘they shot him, they shot him,'” she said.
She said she was “really nervous and scared” when officers pulled the car over. Wright, who was usually “happy and positive,” was also “really scared,” Albrecht-Payton said.
An officer who testified Wednesday said he pulled the car Wright was driving over because the right-turn signal was on in the left-turn lane, the tabs were expired and there was an air freshener hanging from the review mirror.
Albrecht-Payton said she was escortedout of the crashed vehicle after the incident and spoke with police officers.
Prosecutor Erin Eldridge showed jurors body camera video of an officer handcuffing Albrecht-Payton.
Albrecht-Payton said she was taken to the hospital. She said she had a lacerated lip, stitches in her ear, a fractured jaw and a concussion. She said she had surgery on her jaw, which was wired shut for a period.
“My blood was just spilling from my mouth,” Albrecht-Payton testified.
Wright’s mother cried in the courtroom as Albrecht-Payton spoke, and Albrecht-Payton gave a quick wave to her as she walked out of the courtroom. Potter sat in court beside her attorneys, dressed in a purple sweater and black pants.
The incident happened just miles from the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, later convicted of murdering George Floyd, and spurred multiple days of protests and looting in the area.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said Wednesday he was prepared to ask the Minnesota National Guard to respond to assist local law enforcement during the Potter trial “out of an abundance of caution.”
Fourteen people – 12 jurors and two alternates – are hearing evidence in the case, which is being livestreamed. The case marks the second time in Minnesota history that a criminal trial is being livestreamed. The first time was during the Chauvin trial.
The first-degree manslaughter charge carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and/or a $30,000 fine. The second-degree charge has a maximum sentence of 10 years and/or a $20,000 fine.