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Daunte Wright’s passenger sues Minneapolis suburb, officer

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FILE - In this image taken from Brooklyn Center Police Officer Jeffrey Sommers' police body cam video that was played during the trial of former Brooklyn Center police Officer Kim Potter on Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021, in Minneapolis, police approach the car that Daunte Wright was driving after being shot during a traffic stop. Potter, who is white, is charged with first- and second-degree manslaughter in the shooting of Wright, a Black motorist, in the suburb of Brooklyn Center. Potter has said she meant to use her Taser – but grabbed her handgun instead – after Wright tried to drive away as officers were trying to arrest him. (Court TV, via AP, Pool)

BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. (AP) — The woman who was in Daunte Wright’s vehicle when he was fatally shot by police in a Minneapolis suburb last year is suing the city and the former officer who killed him.

The lawsuit says passenger Alayna Albrecht-Payton, 21, of St. Paul, was physically injured when Wright’s vehicle crashed into another SUV after Kim Potter shot him.

Potter has said she mistook her firearm for her Taser when she fired at the 20-year-old Black man during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center on April 11, 2021.

Albrecht-Payton said in her complaint that she has also suffered from post traumatic stress disorder since watching Wright die of his gunshot wound.

Potter, who is white, was convicted of first- and second-degree manslaughter in Wright’s death and sentenced to two years in prison.

“Albrecht-Payton was a blameless witness to a horribly traumatic event, which a lot of people heard her testify to in the felony trial. And she has suffered some significant and permanent injuries, including the broken jaw and the cuts, and just scared inside and out from this event,” her attorney Kathryn Bennett told the Star Tribune.

Albrecht-Payton underwent surgery for her broken jaw following the shooting and still struggles with the injury and teeth misalignment, according to the lawsuit.

Jason Hiveley, from the law firm Iverson Reuvers, is the attorney representing Potter and the city.

“Because this matter is in active litigation, we are unable to say much other than we are in the process of reviewing Ms. Albrecht-Payton’s medical records and evaluating our legal defenses. We anticipate filing a Motion for Summary Judgment once depositions are complete,” Hiveley said in a statement.

Albrecht-Payton’s lawsuit said she is seeking at least $150,000 in damages.

The city of Brooklyn Center last month agreed to pay a $3.2 million settlement to Wright’s family.

The fallout from Wright’s death led the Brooklyn Center City Council to pass a series of reforms, including the use of social workers and other trained professionals to respond to medical, mental health and social-needs calls that don’t require police.

The shooting happened at a time of high tension in the area. Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, was standing trial just miles away for the killing of George Floyd, who was Black. Floyd’s May 2020 death prompted a reckoning over police brutality and discrimination against people of color.

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