Kim Potter Found Guilty of Manslaughter in Shooting Death of Daunte Wright

Kim Potter was a former Minnesota officer that shot and killed an unarmed Black motorist. She claimed she mistakenly took her Taser for her gun. A jury deliberated over 26 hours on Thursday.

As Regina Chu, Hennepin County Judge, announced the verdict Potter stood between her lawyers. Chu polled her jurors as she was silent between them.

Potter, 49 was charged with manslaughter and two counts in connection to the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright, 20, on April 11, 2021, during a Brooklyn Center traffic stop, Minn. outside of Minneapolis. This shooting took place as Derek Chauvin (an ex-police officer from Minneapolis) was on trial for George Floyd’s May 2020 murder. It quickly became a focal point for protesters calling for police reform. Chauvin was convicted of murdering Floyd nine days after Wright’s death, in the same court where Potter stood trial. Potter is like Chauvin; Floyd was Black.
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Potter, a 26 year veteran of Brooklyn Center’s police force, was currently training an officer when Wright pulled her over. While testifying in her own defense, Potter said Wright’s car had expired tags in addition to an air freshener hanging from its rearview mirror—a violation in some jurisdictions due to the idea that it could obstruct a driver’s view. After learning that Wright had an open “petty warrant,” Potter testified that police attempted to arrest him, leading to a scuffle as Wright tried to get back into his car. Potter claimed that Wright was then shot at after she grabbed her Taser instead of her Taser.

Wright traveled a short distance and crashed into another car. Wright died on the spot. His girlfriend, Alayna Albrecht-Payton, who was in the passenger seat, testified that she tried to cover Wright’s bleeding wound with her hands and screamed his name over and over. “I replay that image in my head daily,” she testified while weeping.

U.S. Cities React To Police Shooting Death Of Daunte Wright
Hennepin County Sheriff’s OfficeKim Potter poses in a mugshot on the Hennepin County Jail, April 14, 2021 in Minneapolis.

Two days later, Potter—who had been placed on administrative leave—and police chief Tim Gannon resigned from the Brooklyn Center Police Department. Potter was indicted on April 14.

Potter’s trial started on Dec. 8. Potter’s trial began on Dec. 8. The prosecution also stated that Wright was shot recklessly by Potter.

“Accidents can still be crimes,” said Erin Eldridge, a prosecutor on the case. “This was a colossal screw-up, a blunder of epic proportions.”

Wright’s actions were the focus of defense, who argued that he was resisting arrest. According to expert testimony, Potter could have gotten a Taser or gun because of his actions.

Potter, who was one of many high-profile defendants that testified this year at the trial’s closing arguments, is perhaps the highlight of the proceedings. Potter wept as she described what had happened. She continued to claim that Wright mistook the gun for her Taser but also stated that Wright wasn’t being violent, made no threats to Wright and didn’t display any weapon or verbal violence when officers attempted to arrest Wright.

“I remember yelling ‘Taser, Taser Taser,’ and nothing happened,” Potter said during her testimony. “And then he told me I shot him.”

Jurors indicated that they may not be able to reach consensus on Tuesday when they sought guidance from the judge if this was possible.


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