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Daunte Wright’s family honors his memory as Kim Potter trial begins


(NEW YORK) — The family of Daunte Wright is spending their first holiday season without him.

“On Thanksgiving, we sat there and we watched so many videos of my nephew,” Wright’s aunt Naisha Wright said tearfully in an interview with ABC News. “It was just such a beautiful thing, because everybody had a memory of him either cracking jokes or trying to dance — because he could not dance, but he tried.”

The 20-year-old Black man was fatally shot in Minnesota during a traffic stop in April by then-police officer Kim Potter.

Potter, who resigned from the Brooklyn Center Police Department two days later, is now headed to trial. She is charged with first-degree and second-degree manslaughter. She has pleaded not guilty to both charges.

Officers initially pulled Wright over for an expired registration tag on his car but determined that he had an outstanding warrant for a gross misdemeanor weapons charge and tried to detain him, according to former Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon, who also resigned after the incident.

As officers tried to arrest him, Wright freed himself and tried to get back in his vehicle.

During the struggle, the defense says Potter accidentally grabbed her firearm instead of her stun gun when she shot him. After he was shot, he drove off and crashed the car a few blocks away.

Wright’s mother, Katie Wright, told ABC News in an interview two days after the shooting that her son had called her during the traffic stop.

“I know my son was scared. He’s afraid of the police, and I just seen and heard the fear in his voice,” his mother said. “But I don’t know why, and it should have never escalated the way it did.”

She described her son as “an amazing, loving kid” who “had a big heart,” “bright” smile and “loved basketball.”

Naisha Wright said she wants the world to remember her nephew as a popular young man with a knack for humor — earning himself a large group of close friends and being coined as an “honorary nephew” to those who knew the family. She also said he had a bright outlook toward a future of taking care of his family, particularly his 2-year-old son.

“He had a 2-year-old son that’s not going to be able to play basketball with him. He had sisters and brothers that he loved so much,” his mother said in April. “He just had his whole life taken away from him. We had our hearts pulled out of our chests. He was my baby.”

“I’m just remembering that smile on that boy’s face,” his aunt said. “The memory of this young man trying to live his life … trying to be a father, becoming a father at a young age and trying to do something for his son.”

Naisha Wright said he had hoped to “take care of his son, giving and doing whatever it was that he needed to do for his son.”

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump has been retained by the family and has slammed the defense’s argument that Wright may still be alive if he had not tried to escape police custody.

“We must look past the shameless victim blaming that has been and will be directed toward Daunte,” Crump said. “Daunte Wright should not have been stopped or shot. He should be here with us, hugging his parents, siblings and young son during this holiday season.”

ABC News’ Stephanie Wash and Sabina Ghebremedhin contributed to this report.

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