FACT CHECK: Was Daunte Wright’s Warrant For Aggravated Robbery?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

A video shared on Twitter claims the active warrant for which Minnesota police attempted to arrest Daunte Wright was related to an aggravated robbery case.

Verdict: False

While Wright was facing an aggravated robbery charge, the warrant police attempted to arrest him on was not for that case. The only active warrant was for a different case involving possession of a firearm without a permit and fleeing a peace officer, according to court records and a spokesperson from the Minnesota State Court Administrator’s Office.

Fact Check: 

Wright, a 20-year-old black man, was fatally shot by then-Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter during a traffic stop on April 11, according to The New York Times.

During the incident, the police attempted to arrest Wright after discovering he had an outstanding warrant, The New York Times reported. Potter, who has since resigned from her position, was charged with second-degree manslaughter in connection to the fatal shooting of Wright, the Washington County District Attorney’s Office said in a press release.

The tweet contains a TikTok video from comedian Walter Masterson that claims to show the real reason why Wright had a warrant out for his arrest. He navigates the Minnesota Court Records Online (MCRO) website and accesses records pertaining to case number 27-CR-19-29850. In the case associated with that case number, Wright was charged with aggravated robbery stemming from a December 2019 incident in which he and another individual allegedly broke into a woman’s home and tried to steal $820 from her at gunpoint, according to court records available on the MCRO website.

Wright “had a warrant out for his arrest because the notice for the Zoom hearing was sent to the wrong address” for the case number 27-CR-19-29850, Masterson claims in the video. The warrant upon which Brooklyn Center police attempted to arrest Wright during the traffic stop was actually related to a different case, filed under case number 27-CR-21-4400, that involved two misdemeanor charges from June 2020, according to court records reviewed by Check Your Fact.

Kyle Christopherson, a communications specialist for the Minnesota State Court Administrator’s Office, told Check Your Fact in an email that there was only one outstanding warrant out for Wright at the time of the April 11 traffic stop. Christopherson provided Check Your Fact with the warrant, issued April 2, that the Brooklyn Center police attempted to arrest Wright on during the incident.

Daunte Wright April 2 Warrant by Elias Atienza on Scribd

The warrant provided by Christopherson was issued after Wright failed to appear at a remote April 2 hearing for charges of possession of a pistol without a permit and fleeing from a peace officer by means other than a motor vehicle. That warrant can also be found on the MCRO website under the case number 27-CR-21-4400. He was charged with those two misdemeanors in June 2020, the arrest warrant and Minnesota Judicial Branch register of actions available online for that case show.

Arthur Martinez, a public defender who represented Wright, told the Daily Beast that he believed Wright never received a notice for the April 2 hearing about the two misdemeanor charges, saying, “He obviously didn’t get it, and no one notified me, and a date came up for April 2nd for 2:30 in the afternoon, and him not knowing about it, didn’t show up, and there was a warrant issued for his arrest.”

The Washington County District Attorney’s Office said in a press release about Potter’s second-degree manslaughter charge that police “checked Wright’s identification and determined he had a warrant for a gross misdemeanor weapons charge.” In addition, the criminal complaint against Potter mentions an outstanding warrant for a “gross misdemeanor weapons charge.”

A warrant was issued for Wright for the aggravated robbery charge in early December 2019, but the register of actions for the case, numbered 27-CR-19-29850, on the Minnesota Judicial Branch website shows it was “cleared” two days later. Another warrant pertaining to the same case was issued in July 2020 after he allegedly broke his bail conditions by possessing a firearm and failing to contact his parole officer, according to the case’s register of actions. He was again released after posting bail in September 2020, court records from MCRO show.

Daunt Wright Law Enforcement Notice of Release and Appearance September 2020 by Elias Atienza on Scribd

In the court records for the aggravated robbery case, there is a scanned Feb. 5 image of an envelope marked as “return to sender” that was returned to the courthouse. However, there was no outstanding warrant related to the aggravated robbery charge at the time of the traffic stop, court records show, and Wright was scheduled to appear in court in August 2021 for the case, Insider reported.

Masterson tweeted April 14 that he had taken down the video making the claim. (RELATED: Is North Carolina Murder Suspect Dejywan Floyd The Younger Brother Of George Floyd?)

“I have taken down the video I made of Daunte Wright’s court records,” Masterson tweeted. “Multiple people have reached out to illustrate to me that I was factually incorrect, and I have listened. I’m not an investigative journalist so I will leave that task to those that are better suited.”

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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