The claim: Daunte Wright had a warrant out for his arrest because the court sent the notice to appear to the wrong address
Misinformation continues to spread about the April 11 traffic stop that resulted in the death of 20-year-old Minnesota man, Daunte Wright.
Police stopped Wright around 2 p.m. because his vehicle registration was expired. When police learned Wright had an outstanding warrant and attempted to detain him, a brief struggle began.
An investigation found that now-former Minnesota police officer Kim Potter mistakenly pulled her gun when she intended to grab her Taser and fatally shot Wright. On April 14, she was charged with second-degree manslaughter.
Amid the confusion, a misinformed TikTok video introduced the false claim that the warrant was issued because of an inaccurate address. Comedian Walter Masterson claimed the court issued the warrant after Wright missed his hearing because the court sent the notice to the wrong address.
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Masterson has since removed the video, but the false claim lives on as versions spread across platforms. Adding to its virality, celebrities like musician Questlove shared the video on their own Facebook pages.
In an April 15 video, Masterson explained that he removed the original video after he learned the “information in that video was incomplete” and promised to “do better.”
Neither Masterson nor Questlove responded to USA TODAY’s request for comment.
Video directs viewers to the wrong case
In the video, Masterson introduced the claim as “breaking news” that “nobody (knew) yet.”
He then directed viewers to look up Wright’s case number, 27-CR-19-29850, on the Minnesota Judicial Branch’s website. There was an outstanding warrant at the time of Wright’s death; however, it was unrelated to this case.
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The case number refers to a 2019 aggravated robbery charge against Wright. The register of actions indicates the notice of hearing for this case was sent to the wrong address, but the court did not respond with a warrant. That case was scheduled to go to trial Aug. 2.
“They sent the notice of hearing to the wrong address, and then they issued a warrant for his arrest, and now he’s dead,” Masterson concludes the video.
Wright’s outstanding warrant was unrelated to address issues
In March, Wright was charged with possession of a pistol without a permit and fleeing a police officer. The case number for these separate charges is No. 27-CR-21-4400.
On April 2, the court issued a warrant for Wright’s arrest for failing to appear at the hearing. That warrant was active at the time of Wright’s death.
The warrant is publicly available for download under Case No. 27-CR-21-4400 on the Minnesota Judicial Branch Document Search page. The register of actions for the case gives no indication the notice for hearing was sent to the wrong address. It is unknown why Wright did not appear for his hearing.
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Our rating: False
We rate the claim that at the time of his death Daunte Wright had an outstanding warrant because the court sent his notice to appear to the wrong address FALSE because it is not supported by our research. There was an active warrant at the time of his death, but it was not related to misaddressed court documents.
Our fact-check sources:
- USA TODAY, April 12, “‘Another Black man has died at the hands of police’: Outrage builds over shooting of Daunte Wright in Minnesota traffic stop”
- USA TODAY, April 14, “Ex-Brooklyn Center police officer arrested, charged with second-degree manslaughter in Daunte Wright’s shooting death”
- IMDb, accessed April 18, Walter Masterson
- Questlove, April 13, Facebook post
- Denyce Lawton, April 12, Facebook post
- Walter Masterson, April 15, TikTok video
- Minnesota Judicial Branch, accessed April 18, “Minnesota Trial Court Public Access (MPA) Remote View”
- Minnesota Judicial Branch, accessed April 18, Register of Actions, Case No. 27-CR-19-29850
- Minnesota Judicial Branch, accessed April 18, Register of Actions, Case No. 27-CR-21-4400
- MINNESOTA JUDICIAL BRANCH, MINNESOTA COURT RECORDS ONLINE (MCRO), accessed April 18, Document Search
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