The mother of Daunte Wright’s child expressed sadness and dismay Friday about how her 1-year-old son would grow up without his father, a Black man fatally shot by a Minneapolis-area police officer.
Chyna Whitaker spoke at a news conference in Minnesota with her lawyer, Thomas Bowers, and her mother, Erica Whitaker, who held Daunte Wright Jr.
“I’m just really hurt for my son because he doesn’t have his father now,” Chyna Whitaker said. “It’s kind of stressful on me. I really don’t want to do this by myself. I feel like I’m by myself.
“I just want my son to be taken care of,” she continued. “I just hope that everything works out in the end.”
The white officer who shot Wright, 20, Kim Potter, resigned Tuesday and was charged with second-degree manslaughter. Brooklyn Center police Chief Tim Gannon, who also resigned, told reporters he believed the officer meant to draw her Taser instead of her handgun.
Potter has not yet entered a plea, and her lawyer, Earl Gray, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Image: Chyna Whitaker
Chyna Whitaker, mother of Daunte Wright’s son, speaks during a news conference, in Minneapolis, on April 16, 2021.John Minchillo / AP
Police body camera footage appeared to show Wright getting out of an SUV and then getting back in as officers tried to apprehend him.
Authorities said he was stopped for expired registration when officers noticed another violation: an air freshener hanging from his rear-view mirror.
The recording captured a woman’s voice shouting, “Taser!” before the 20-year-old was struck with a single round in his chest.
“Holy s— I just shot him,” the same female voice is heard saying.
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The vehicle pulled away but crashed nearby.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner classified Wright’s death as a homicide.
The Minneapolis area has been the scene of nightly demonstrations since the Sunday night shooting and is bracing for the verdict in the trial of former officer Derek Chauvin, charged in the killing last year of George Floyd.
“I never thought like in a million years that this would happen,” Chyna Whitaker said at the news conference. “Everything’s all really just hitting me now.”
Whitaker’s mother said she was upset for her grandson.
“I’m angry and I’m hurt that he will not have his dad,” Erika Whitaker said. “He will have pictures. He will have history. But he will not have his biological father, and no one can replace his biological father.”
Bowers, the lawyer, did not address possible legal action, although other family members have separately retained civil rights lawyer Benjamin Crump. But Bowers said policing must change.
“America is bleeding right now,” he said. “America’s sick. And it has been for a while. It appears as though this sore is festering and festering, over and over again. Because we keep having senseless acts of violence as it relates to young, African American males that are just trying to live in America.”