Former Officer Kim Potter Guilty of Manslaughter

She fatally shot Daunte Wright, faces about 7 years in prison on most serious count
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 23, 2021 1:43 PM CST
Former Officer Kim Potter Guilty of Manslaughter
In this image taken from video, former Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kim Potter testifies during her trial on Dec. 17 in Minneapolis.   (Court TV via AP, Pool)

(Newser) – Jurors on Thursday convicted a suburban Minneapolis police officer of two manslaughter charges in the killing of Daunte Wright, a Black motorist she shot during a traffic stop after she said she confused her gun for her Taser, per the AP. The mostly white jury deliberated for about four days before finding former Brooklyn Center officer Kim Potter guilty of first-degree and second-degree manslaughter. Potter, 49, faces about seven years in prison on the most serious count under the state’s sentencing guidelines, but prosecutors said they would seek a longer term. Potter, who testified that she “didn’t want to hurt anybody,” looked down without showing any visible reaction when the verdicts were read.

Potter, who is white, shot and killed the 20-year-old Wright during an April 11 traffic stop in Brooklyn Center as she and other officers were trying to arrest him on an outstanding warrant for a weapons possession charge. The shooting happened at a time of high tension in the area, with former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin standing trial just miles away for the killing of George Floyd. Potter resigned two days later. Jurors saw video of the shooting that was captured by police body cameras and dashcams. It showed Potter and an officer she was training, Anthony Luckey, pull over Wright for having expired license plate tags and an air freshener hanging from his rear-view mirror.

During the stop, Luckey discovered there was a warrant for Wright’s arrest for not appearing in court on the weapons possession charge, and he, Potter, and another officer went to take Wright into custody. Wright obeyed Luckey’s order to get out of his car, but as Luckey tried to handcuff him, Wright pulled away and got back in. As Luckey held onto Wright, Potter said “I’ll tase ya.” The video then shows Potter holding her gun in her right hand and pointing it at Wright. Again, Potter said, “I’ll tase you,” and then two seconds later: “Taser, Taser, Taser.” One second later, she fired a single bullet into Wright’s chest. “(Expletive)! I just shot him. ... I grabbed the wrong (expletive) gun,” Potter said. A minute later, she said: “I’m going to go to prison.” (Read more Kim Potter stories.)

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