The 20-year-old black man who was fatally shot by a Minnesota police officer during a traffic stop in April was allegedly involved in an armed carjacking and assault three weeks before he was killed, according to a new lawsuit.
Daunte Wright — who was killed when officer Kim Potter mistook her gun for a Taser — and an accomplice allegedly jumped 20-year-old Joshua Hodges on March 21 while he was sitting in his car in north Minneapolis, according to WCCO.
The other man shot Hodges in his leg, after which Wright allegedly struck him in the face and stole his wallet and cellphone, the lawsuit claims.
Wright then allegedly drove away in his car.
Hodges’ attorney Mike Padden said the bullet “hit an artery” and that his client “could have died.”
“Someone needs to answer for this,” Padden told KARE 11.
Hodges — who said he recognized Wright during the carjacking because they went to middle school together — survived the shooting but spent two weeks in the hospital and is now suffering from pain and permanent injuries, Padden said.
Wright has not been charged with a crime and the attack is still under investigation by the Minneapolis Police Department.
Authorities have not said if Wright is a suspect, according to the local station.
The lawsuit, meanwhile, is seeking at least $50,000 from Wright’s estate for “severe emotional distress and mental anguish.”
“This kid was badly injured in a terrible crime, and it’s perfectly reasonable to issue a claim against one of the two individuals responsible,” said Padden.
However, lawyers representing Wright’s family called the lawsuit a bogus attempt at “character assassination.”
“The audacity of this attorney is disappointing, and we implore members of the community to not be drawn in by these opportunistic efforts to tear down Daunte and hurt his family,” attorneys Ben Crump, Antonio Romanucci and Jeff Storms said in a statement.
“Ploys like these aim to do one thing: distract. But our team will not be distracted in our fight for justice in this case and in our fight for justice for all marginalized communities.”
Last month, Wright was accused in a separate lawsuit of shooting Caleb Livingston, leaving him brain damaged — in a case that Padden also filed.
The manslaughter case against Potter, a Brooklyn Center police officer, is scheduled to go to trial Dec. 6.
Wright’s family also stands to receive a settlement from the city.