Daunte Wright ‘was an arch criminal’, says lawyer for man ‘left in vegetative state in shooting’


Daunte Wright was ‘an arch criminal’ whose death at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis is being used to push ‘false narratives’, according to a lawyer representing the victims of two separate shootings the black man is accused of being involved in.

Attorney Michael Padden told DailyMail.com in an exclusive interview that the 20-year-old was a ‘very serious criminal’ who should never have been out on the streets on April 11, the day he was shot dead. 

Padden is representing two families who have filed separate lawsuits against Wright’s estate that allege he was involved in the shooting of two men.

In one incident, Wright is accused of shooting Caleb Livingston – who he went to school with – in the head in 2019, leaving him in a permanently vegetative state.  

In the other, Wright was allegedly involved in a carjacking just three weeks before his death where the victim – Joshua Hodges – was shot in the leg.  

Wright was not charged in either shooting incident and police have not confirmed if he was a suspect in either case.  

The new allegations against the 20-year-old black man have emerged just two months after he was fatally shot by Brooklyn Center cop Kim Potter during an April traffic stop. 

Potter, who resigned days after the shooting and is charged with second-degree manslaughter, allegedly mixed up her Taser and her handgun when she opened fire on Wright. 

In the days after he was killed, it was revealed that Wright had a warrant out for his arrest and had previously appeared in court for attempted aggravated robbery charges after he allegedly choked and held a woman at gunpoint for $820 in 2019.  

Daunte Wright, the black man shot dead by a white police officer in Minneapolis, has been accused of being involved in two separate shooting incidents before he was killed

Daunte Wright, the black man shot dead by a white police officer in Minneapolis, has been accused of being involved in two separate shooting incidents before he was killed

It has now emerged that Wright is also accused of being involved in the two separate shooting incidents involving Hodges and Livingston. 

Lawyers for Wright’s family have slammed the new lawsuits calling them an effort to ‘distract’ from the cop killing of the young black father-of-one.  

But Padden hit back at these claims, telling DailyMail.com that Wright was an ‘arch criminal’ who was looking at a long stretch behind bars for numerous alleged crimes. 

He blasted the ‘false narratives’ surrounding the black man and said America is ‘sick and tired’ of them. 

‘I think American’s are sick and tired of false narratives. The sad reality was that Dante Wright was an arch criminal and anyone who says otherwise is not being honest,’ Padden told DailyMail.com.

‘I think the full extent of his criminal history may never be known.’

While Padden admitted it is ‘unfortunate’ that Wright died, he urged people to take into account the experiences of Livingston’s mother Jennifer LeMay who has been left to care for her permanently disabled son following the shooting. 

‘My job is to represent the people who have been violated by Daunte Wright. I think people need to look at it from the perspective of Jennifer LeMay, the mother of Caleb Livingston – what she has to deal with on a daily basis, with a son who is in a vegetative state,’ he said.

‘The reality is that Daunte Wright was a very serious criminal and had he not evaded arrest on the date that they attempted to apprehend him when he was unfortunately killed he would not have been shot.

‘It’s unfortunate that he was killed, I’m not denying that. But he was probably looking at a minimum of 20 years for three separate crimes and he would have never made bail because he had already violated the terms of one felony case.’

Padden added: ‘He shouldn’t have been out running around on April 11 anyway.’

The latest lawsuit was filed on Tuesday and alleges that Wright was one of two men involved in a carjacking on March 21 that left the victim, Joshua Hodges (pictured above), with a gunshot wound to his leg

The latest lawsuit was filed on Tuesday and alleges that Wright was one of two men involved in a carjacking on March 21 that left the victim, Joshua Hodges (pictured above), with a gunshot wound to his leg

The second lawsuit alleges that Wright shot Caleb Livingston (above) in the head and left him permanently disabled outside a Minneapolis gas station in May 2019

The second lawsuit alleges that Wright shot Caleb Livingston (above) in the head and left him permanently disabled outside a Minneapolis gas station in May 2019

Livingston's mother said her son spent 33 days in intensive care and had part of his skull removed to relieve pressure on his brain following shooting

Livingston is pictured above in his wheelchair following the shooting

Livingston’s mother said her son spent 33 days in intensive care and had part of his skull removed to relieve pressure on his brain following shooting. He is pictured above in his wheelchair following the shooting 

The attorney said he believes Wright mistakenly thought Potter was trying to arrest him in connection with the Hodges carjacking and shooting after Hodges had identified him to the police some days earlier.   

‘I would have more respect for his attorneys and family if they would have just come out and said, “Look, this young man had real problems,’ he added.

‘He was a flawed human being but this should never have happened.” I would have respected that.’

Padden told DailyMail.com he is confident that he will secure victory for both families should their cases get as far as court.

‘I’ve got a job to do and that is to be a zealous advocate for these people that have been violated by Daunte Wright’s conduct. I take that obligation very seriously,’ he said.

Padden also pointed out that his clients would have ‘no access’ to any funds paid out by the city of Brooklyn Center in Wrights’ family’s wrongful death suit. 

‘I think if people understand that they’ll calm down,’ he said.   

The latest lawsuit was filed Tuesday, alleging Wright was one of two men involved in a carjacking on March 21 that left Hodges with a gunshot wound to his leg. 

According to the suit, obtained by DailyMail.com, the theft and shooting was perpetrated by Wright and an accomplice and, ‘need not and should not have happened – and was entirely foreseeable.’

The suit goes onto state that Wright had ‘established himself as an arch criminal having committed significant crimes,’ prior to March 21. 

The latest suit, filed Tuesday, claims Wright was involved in a carjacking on March 21 that left the victim, Joshua Hodges, with a gunshot wound to his leg. The suit claims the theft and shooting was perpetrated by Wright and an accomplice

The latest suit, filed Tuesday, claims Wright was involved in a carjacking on March 21 that left the victim, Joshua Hodges, with a gunshot wound to his leg. The suit claims the theft and shooting was perpetrated by Wright and an accomplice

But, it claims, ‘the legal system failed..in the sense that Perp 2 [Wright] was free to commit crimes.’

This was, it states, ‘classic “black on black crime.”’ 

In fact the complaint goes onto allege that Wright, ‘had a penchant not only for victimizing people of color, but also, people he knew and who knew him who could therefore identify him to authorities.’

Wright was never charged with the shooting but the suit states that Wright and the victim, Hodges, had attended school together and that although Wright was masked he was easily identifiable to Hodges as he sat in his car near his home in North Minneapolis on the evening of the shooting.  

According to the lawsuit, Wright and the other man approached Hodges while he was sitting in his car. 

The other man opened his car door and immediately shot Hodges in the leg, causing ‘massive bleeding’ and fracturing his left fibula.  

In a state of shock and bleeding profusely the suit claims that Hodges was then ‘assaulted about the face’ by Wright, causing ‘face, mouth and teeth injuries.’

He was then robbed of his wallet and cell phone and his assailants took off in his car. 

The lawsuit says Hodges spent two weeks in hospital recovering from his gunshot wound injuries.  

Hodges complaint lists what it claims was Wright’s ‘lengthy criminal record’ at the time of this alleged assault.’

The record includes the shooting of Caleb Livingston (though the investigation remains open), aggravated robbery of a woman in Osseo, Minnesota with which Wright was charged, illegal possession of a handgun and violation of his terms of bond.

Wright had had an active warrant for over six months at the time of his alleged assault on Hodges.  

The second lawsuit alleges that Wright shot Caleb Livingston in the head and left him permanently disabled outside a gas station in May 2019. It says Livingston has been left suffering ‘severe pain, disability, disfigurement, humiliation, embarrassment and grave emotional distress’ following the shooting

The second lawsuit alleges that Wright shot Caleb Livingston in the head and left him permanently disabled outside a gas station in May 2019. It says Livingston has been left suffering ‘severe pain, disability, disfigurement, humiliation, embarrassment and grave emotional distress’ following the shooting

The second lawsuit, which was filed last month, relates to the shooting of Caleb Livingston back in May 2019.

It alleges that Wright shot the then-teenager in the head and left him permanently disabled. 

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Livingston’s mother, Jennifer LeMay, who claims her son, who is now 18, was once friends with Wright. 

The lawsuit alleges the pair had a ‘falling out’ that came to a head after her son beat up Wright in front of a group. 

Wright allegedly retaliated by shooting Livingston in the head.  

The suit states that both Livingston and Wright were at a gas station/convenience store known as ‘Full Stop’ on May 14, 2019 at 9.19 pm when the shooting took place. 

The shooting is still an open investigation and no one has been charged.   

Wright was fatally shot by Brooklyn Center cop Kim Potter during an April traffic stop. Potter, who is charged with second-degree manslaughter, allegedly mixed up her Taser and her handgun when she opened fire

Wright was fatally shot by Brooklyn Center cop Kim Potter during an April traffic stop. Potter, who is charged with second-degree manslaughter, allegedly mixed up her Taser and her handgun when she opened fire

But LeMay’s suit claims that it was Wright who, ‘brandished, pointed and discharged a firearm at and towards Caleb.’

Livingston was hit with a single shot to the head, ‘causing serious, disabling and permanent injuries.’ 

Medics had to remove a large portion of Livingston’s skull in an attempt to save him. 

After he was declared brain dead he was taken off life support but, remarkably, he survived.

Livingston, the suit states, has suffered and will continue to suffer, ‘severe pain, disability, disfigurement, humiliation, embarrassment and grave emotional distress.’ 

Livingston is, ‘not able to handle his personal affairs or meet his basic living needs and has significant permanent disability both mentally and physically’ following the shooting, it states.  

LeMay told the Star Tribune in a 2019 interview that her son spent 33 days in intensive care and had part of his skull removed to relieve pressure on his brain. 

She said the medical costs had surpassed $545,000.  

‘I didn’t ask for my child to be shot,’ LeMay said. ‘So I have literally liquidated everything that I have stored away for savings.’ 

The same lawyer, Michael Padden, is behind both lawsuits, which are each seeking $50,000 from Wright’s estate. 

A statement from the lawyers representing Wright’s family, including civil rights attorney Ben Crump, slammed the new lawsuits.

‘Already grieving the loss of their loved one, is Daunte Wright’s family also expected to endure this character assassination on top of it?’ the statement, obtained by KARE11, reads. 

Police body cam footage of the fatal incident showed three officers approaching Daunte Wright's car in Brooklyn Center after he had been pulled over for the traffic stop

Police body cam footage of the fatal incident showed three officers approaching Daunte Wright’s car in Brooklyn Center after he had been pulled over for the traffic stop

Bodycam footage of the incident showed Potter firing her gun at Wright after shouting 'Taser'

Bodycam footage of the incident showed Potter firing her gun at Wright after shouting ‘Taser’

‘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. 

‘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.’ 

Padden, the attorney behind the two lawsuits, says he isn’t sure what his clients might be able to get from the legal action. 

‘We don’t know. We’ll figure that out. We’ll see how it plays out,’ Padden said. 

Speaking specifically about the latest lawsuit, Padden said: ‘But look, someone needs to answer for this. 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.’   

Wright (pictured in his booking photo) was arrested on attempted aggravated robbery charges after allegedly holding a woman at gunpoint for $820 in December 2019

Wright (pictured in his booking photo) was arrested on attempted aggravated robbery charges after allegedly holding a woman at gunpoint for $820 in December 2019

Details of Wright’s criminal history emerged in the days after his death, including that he had a warrant out for his arrest after he missed a court appearance on separate firearms charges at the time he was killed.  

Wright was due to face trial on a charge of attempted aggravated robbery related to a December 2019 incident. 

Charging papers say Wright and a second man, Emajay Driver, went to a home shared by two women in Osseo, Minnesota ‘to party’ in December 2019. At the time, Wright was 19 and Driver was 18.

The women asked them to leave around 2.30 am on December 1 but they said they didn’t have a ride and the women – who are not identified in the court documents – allowed them to sleep on the floor.

In the morning, one of the women went to the bank to get her $820 rent money, which she gave to the other woman and then left for work. 

As Wright, Driver and the second woman were leaving, Wright allegedly tried to hold up the woman and pulled out a black handgun.

He was accused of choking the woman as he grabbed the money.  

Wright’s April 11 death sparked days of unrest in Minneapolis at a time when fired cop Derek Chauvin was standing trial for the murder of George Floyd.

He was shot and killed by police officer Kim Potter, a 26-year veteran in the Brooklyn Center Police Department, after he was pulled over for what police said were expired license plate tags.

Police said a struggle broke out when they tried to arrest Wright after running his name and realizing he had an outstanding warrant. 

At the time, the city’s police chief described the shooting as ‘an accidental discharge’ and said Potter had mistakenly fired her gun instead of a taser. 

Wright's April 11 death sparked days of unrest in Minneapolis at a time when fired cop Derek Chauvin was standing trial for the murder of George Floyd. A number of high-profile Democratic lawmakers in Minnesota and activists attended Wright's funeral

Wright’s April 11 death sparked days of unrest in Minneapolis at a time when fired cop Derek Chauvin was standing trial for the murder of George Floyd. A number of high-profile Democratic lawmakers in Minnesota and activists attended Wright’s funeral

Bodycam footage of the incident showed Potter and two other officers approaching Wright’s car after he had been pulled over. 

The footage showed one officer trying to handcuff Wright as a second officer told him he was being arrested on a warrant. Wright immediately jumped back into his car in an apparent attempt to flee. 

A struggle then broke out between the officers and Wright, who was still sitting inside his car. 

Potter could be heard shouting ‘Taser!’ several times in the moments before she fired her gun. Immediately after, Potter could be heard saying: ‘Holy sh*t. I shot him’. 

Wright managed to drive several blocks before coming to a stop when he hit another car. He was pronounced dead at the scene and his girlfriend, who was a passenger in the car, sustained non-life-threatening injuries. 

His death has sparked several days of violent protests and unrest in the city that was already on edge because of the trial of Derek Chauvin, the first of four police officers charged in George Floyd’s death. 

A number of high-profile Democratic lawmakers in Minnesota later attended Wright’s funeral. 

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison is leading the case against Potter, who is  scheduled to go on trial on December 6. If convicted, she faces a sentence of up to 10 years in prison. 



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