Ex-US Policewoman, Kim Potter Found Guilty Of Manslaughter For Fatally Shooting Daunte Wright, Faces At Least 15 Years In Jail
Recall that Wright’s shooting death back in April sparked protest against racism. The incident was captured on police bodycam footage, which showed the exchange between Potter and 20-year-old Wright, who was trying to flee from police after cops made a traffic stop for an outstanding warrant.
Potter, a white 26-year veteran of Brooklyn Center Police Department, was training a new officer, Anthony Luckey, when they pulled Wright over on April 11 for expired registration tags and an air-freshener hanging from the vehicle’s rear view mirror (it’s illegal to hang things on rear view mirror in Minneapolis).
Then, Wright to be arrested on an outstanding weapons charge when he tried getting back into his car. Potter testified that she feared for the safety of another officer, Sgt. Mychal Johnson, who was struggling with Wright from the passenger side.
Potter resigned from the police force after the fatal shooting, but she was arrested following mass protests and riots.
Hennepin County panel, after starting deliberations on Monday, found Potter guilty of first-degree manslaughter, meaning she improperly used “such force and violence that death of or great bodily harm to any person was reasonably foreseeable.”
The jury consisted of one Black person, two Asian American people and nine white people.
Jurors also found the white former officer guilty of second-degree manslaughter charge, which only required a finding of “culpable negligence” that created “unreasonable risk, and consciously takes chances of causing death or great bodily harm to another.”
Although, over the course of the week and a half trial, prosecutors did not dispute that the shooting was an accident, they argued Potter’s training and experience should have prevented the mix-up and subsequent shooting, contending she was negligent and acted recklessly.
MDB earlier reported that Potter took the stand on Friday and was emotional as she was questioned about what happened in the moments leading up to Wright’s fatal interaction with cops.
Potter started sobbing and grabbing for tissues as she fought back tears to tell the court, “I remember yelling Taser, Taser, Taser and nothing happened. And then, he told me I shot him.”
She maintained that she thought she was reaching for her Taser, when in fact, she pulled out her firearm.
Wright’s fatal shooting happened about 10 miles from the courthouse where former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was on trial for the slaying of George Floyd.
Days later, Chauvin, who is white, was convicted of second- and third-degree murder, as well as second-degree manslaughter, in the May 25, 2020, killing of Floyd, a Black man, whose death touched off a summer of national protests calling for an end to institutional racism.
Chauvin was sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison. Chauvin switched his plea in his federal civil rights case earlier this month from not guilty to guilty, as part of a plea deal.
The policewoman’s trial was held in the same courtroom where Chauvin’s trial was carried out.
Meanwhile, the maximum sentence for first-degree manslaughter is 15 years in prison and a fine of $30,000, according to Minnesota law.
For someone without a prior criminal record, like Potter, the average sentence is about seven years, the New York Times reports.
Second-degree manslaughter carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000, though Potter is likely to face about four years, according to the Times.