The girlfriend of Daunte Wright, a Black man killed at the hands of a Minnesota ex-cop in the spring of 2021, has filed a lawsuit against the parties responsible for his death and her personal trauma. The passenger, who was sitting next to him in the car at the time of his premature demise, claims to have also suffered as a result of seeing the police-involved shooting and is now asking for six figures in damages.
On Friday, July 29, a lawsuit document obtained by Atlanta Black Star was filed by Alayna Albrecht-Payton listing the city of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, and former officer Kim Potter as defendants in a case hoping to determine culpability for injuries caused by the former officer during the confrontation on April 11, 2021.
The 21-year-old is seeking a minimum of $150,000 in damages for pain and suffering linked to the post-traumatic stress disorder caused by being an eyewitness to her loved one’s death. She was also diagnosed with post-acute stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and major depressive disorder.
The complaint shows Albrecht-Payton also broke her jaw, sustained a concussion, busted her lip, and had blood coming out of her ears as a result of that night.
Albrecht-Payton made headlines in December 2021 after testifying against Potter at the former cop’s criminal trial.
Despite claiming at the trial she confused her Taser for her firearm when accidentally shooting Wright, Potter was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to two years in prison. The city of Brooklyn Center also agreed to pay Wright’s family a $3.25 million settlement.
Albrecht-Payton’s attorney, Katie Bennett writes in the complaint Potter’s “negligent conduct” caused the young lady to suffer both physical and emotional injuries. Bennett further asserted that because Potter was employed at the time by the Brooklyn Center Police Department and used a “Department-issued firearm” during the altercation, the city is liable for the outcome caused by her reckless behavior.
“Defendant City of Brooklyn Center is vicariously liable for the tortious conduct of Potter, an employee and agent of the City acting within the scope of her employment at the times she shot and killed Daunte,” the lawsuit read.
Arguing her client is “blameless” in the case and now has “psychological and emotional injuries that have been life altering.”
“Albrecht-Payton was a blameless witness to this horribly traumatic event,” the lawyer said.
The claim also stated, “Alayna’s conduct during the stop indicated nothing but an attempt to cooperate and deescalate the situation.”
According to the claim, Potter endangered Albrecht-Payton’s safety and one of her colleagues when she shot Wright as he attempted to evade arrest during the traffic stop in the Minneapolis suburb.
After Wright was shot, his vehicle smashed into another SUV, and Albrecht-Payton “bore the brunt” of the collision. It also states that despite Albrecht-Payton being injured, she “desperately” attempted to save Wright’s life and witnessed him as he “gasped for air.”
In detail, the lawsuit recalls how the responding officers held her at gunpoint and shackled her in cuffs, even before rendering medical aid to Albrecht-Payton. In fact, Potter sat on the curb and cried.
“Sh-t! I just shot him. I grabbed the wrong f-cking gun,” she allegedly cried out. “I shot him!”
“Potter worried only about the consequences to herself,” the complaint states. “She drew her fellow officers’ attention to herself and away from responding to the crisis she created. Officer [Anthony] Luckey patted her back as she lay face down on the grass, expressing her concern that she was ‘going to prison.'”
The young woman was taken by EMS to the North Memorial Health Hospital.
The EMS responders note, according to the lawsuit, she was too distressed to articulate what happened. The claim said, “Alayna was bleeding from her head and face. She had facial lacerations, swelling, and pain from the crash.”
“She hit her head in the crash and suffered a concussion,” it continued. “Alayna’s lower lip was punctured all the way through. Blood was coming from both of Alayna’s ears … [she] suffered a mandibular fracture — a broken jaw.”
She was treated and discharged that evening, but the next day went to Regions Hospital because she continued to have “pain in her jaw.” She went to this hospital with her mother.
Albrecht-Payton underwent surgery on her jaw five days after the shooting. Doctors placed four 8 mm screws in her jaw and wired her mouth, leaving it shut for two weeks, resulting in her partaking in a liquid diet for two weeks. When the wire was removed, she was only allowed to eat soft foods for an additional six weeks.
Surgeons repaired the lacerations on her lip and ear with stitches.
Her jaw is now permanently slanted, her teeth are not aligned making her bites “mismatched” and she is struggling to sleep in comfort, the lawsuit said.
Two weeks after the ordeal, from April 26 to April 29, she was hospitalized. Medical records claimed she was admitted based on a state of “agitated delirium following her boyfriend being killed in front of her eyes.”
“Her anxiety was overwhelming, She kept imagining seeing people getting shot and replaying Daunte’s death in her mind,” the filing revealed.
Albrecht-Payton wants Potter and the city of Brooklyn Center to be responsible for the negligence that disrupted her life, causing her “past and future bodily and mental harm,” “loss of enjoyment of life,” “mental anguish,” “past and future medical expenses,” “past and future pain, suffering, and mental distress” and other items of damage.”
The woman is seeking $50,000 each per count of negligence, negligent infliction of emotional distress and vicarious liability.