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The aunt of the 20-year-old Black man who was fatally shot by a police officer during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, on Sunday said she doesn’t believe officer confused her gun with her Taser.
Daunte Wright’s death at the hands of police officer Kimberly Porter set off protests in an area still grappling with the fallout from the killing of George Floyd, another Black man, in nearby Minneapolis last May.
Monday night, Wright’s aunt, Naisha Wright, spoke to CNN’s Don Lemon about how the family is grappling with her nephew’s death.
When asked what she thought of the police chief’s explanation for the shooting — that the officer mistakenly reached for her gun instead of her Taser — Wright said she didn’t believe it.
“You know the difference from a fully-loaded pistol versus a gun. You know the difference and if you’re a police officer, you should know that,” Wright said. “I saw she held that gun out in front of her for a little while. You mean to tell me she didn’t see it?”
“There is no peace in this. Say his name. Keep saying his name. My nephew did not deserve this.”
Naisha Wright, the Aunt of Daunte Wright, speaks out after her nephew was shot by a police officer and died following a traffic stop. pic.twitter.com/irGyDijrSd
— CNN Tonight (@CNNTonight) April 13, 2021
“I’ve owned an over 20,000 volt Taser. They don’t feel nothing like a gun,” she added.
Wright’s voice started to crack as she implored listeners to imagine what it would feel like to learn that they had lost a loved one this way.
“How would y’all feel if y’all got the call? If that was your nephew? If that was your son? If that was your brother?”
“He didn’t deserve to die. My nephew was a damn good kid. He loved his family and we loved him.”
She questioned why her nephew had been pulled over in the first place, and questioned whether he was the victim of racial profiling.
Daunte Wright’s mother, Katie, previously told reporters that her son called her and said he was pulled over for hanging an air freshener from his rearview mirror, a violation of a Minnesota law that has been criticized for disproportionately targeting Black drivers.
After pulling Wright over, officers realized he had a warrant out for his arrest for skipping a court date on two misdemeanor charges, according to The New York Times. When officers tried arrest him, Wright freed himself and attempted to get back into his car, prompting the officer to shoot him, authorities said.
Officials have tried to counter the narrative that Wright was pulled over for an air freshener by saying their original reason for the traffic stop was expired tags.
Wright’s aunt said she’s not buying that line either.
“My mother shouldn’t be burying her grandchild; my brother, my sister, they shouldn’t have to be burying their son. Not over air freshener,” she said.
“They stopped him over air freshener. Let’s get that correct. His pass wasn’t expired. My sister had just bought him that car. People want to try and look for something bad to go ahead and justify this.”