Kim Potter, 49 is charged with first- and second-degree manslaughter for fatally shooting Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, in April. Potter, who was a police officer for 26 years, resigned from the Brooklyn Center Police Department two days after the April 11 shooting and has argued that she meant to use her Taser – but grabbed her gun instead – after Wright tried to drive away from the police while they were arresting him.
Multiple different body camera videos were played for the jury in court that depict the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright. Video of the encounter showed a male officer approaching the car ahead of Potter, and a second officer on the passenger side. Potter said “have him step out,” and the male officer in front asks Wright to step out of the car. As Officers Andrew Luckey and Kim Potter attempt to arrest Wright on a warrant, Wright resisted and tried to get back into his car. Potter warned Wright twice that she would tase him, then yelled, “Taser, taser, taser,” and shot him once in the chest with her handgun, killing him. After Potter appears to realize she shot Wright with her gun — not her Taser — the officer says, “Sh*t, I just shot him … I grabbed the wrong f**king gun. I shot him.”An officer told Wright he was under arrest. Potter told Wright “you have a warrant.” Wright struggled with an officer, stepped back into his car and was shot.
Defense attorney Paul Engh said in his opening statement all Wright “had to do was surrender.” Engh centered on Potter attempting to use a Taser on Wright in order to protect her partner, Sgt. Mychal Johnson, because he was inside Wright’s car and would be injured if Wright drove off. “All he has to do is stop and he’d be with us,” Engh said of Wright. Potter has pleaded not guilty to charges of first- and second-degree manslaughter. If convicted, she faces at least a decade in prison. Potter, 49, is expected to testify in her own defense during the trial. The female passenger in Wright’s car is also expected to testify.
The jury includes seven White men, four White women, two Asian women, and one Black woman. No Black men were selected for the jury. The first witness the prosecution called Wednesday was Wright’s mother, Katie Bryant, who gave emotional testimony.
In court filings, prosecutors have alleged Potter “consciously and intentionally acted in choosing to use force on Daunte Wright and in reaching for, drawing, pointing, and manipulating a weapon”. Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines call for a prison term of just over seven years on the first-degree manslaughter count and four years on the second-degree one