Former suburban Minneapolis officer Kim Potter is charged with first and second-degree manslaughter for fatally shooting Wright in April
The jury selection process began Monday morning in the trial of the former suburban Minneapolis cop accused of fatally shooting Daunte Wright earlier this year.
Former Brooklyn Center Police officer Kim Potter, 49, is charged with first and second-degree manslaughter for allegedly shooting and killing Wright during an April 11 traffic stop. A medical examiner later determined Wright was killed by a single gunshot to the chest.
Potter quit her job two days after the shooting after serving 26 years on the force, according to the Washington Post. Former Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon followed suit the same day, WaPo reported. If convicted, Potter could face a maximum prison sentence of 15 years, according to ABC News.
Left to right: Former Brooklyn Center, Minnesota officer Kim Potter and 20-year-old Daunte Wright. (Photo: State of Minnesota/Facebook)
Hennepin County District Court Judge Regina Chu read descriptions of Potter’s charges to prospective jurors Tuesday morning before explaining the selection process and how jurors would be questioned both collectively and individually, according to KARE 11.
“Our sole purpose and obligation is to ensure jurors who decide this case are neutral, open minded and fair,” Chu told the potential jurors during preliminary instructions, per KARE. “By showing up today and proving you are willing to serve, you are our heroes. Our criminal justice system could not work without good citizens like you.”
In October, attorneys for Potter submitted court documents indicating they may argue that Wright’s killing was an innocent accident or a mistake, according to the Associated Press. The officers’ attorneys have also considered arguing Wright is partly to blame for his own death and that Potter’s “perceived use of a Taser was reasonable,” court documents show.
Potter’s attorneys posed related questions to prospective jurors on Tuesday.
“You’re going to have testimony in this case about training and that’s going to be part of the evidence you’ll here as well,” one of Potter’s lawyers said to a potential juror. “If there’s evidence about officers being trained to make decisions [quickly] in those circumstances over decades, you’ll evaluate that evidence as well?”
“Yes,” the potential juror replied.
Jurors chosen in the case must decide whether Potter’s actions fit the legal definition of criminal manslaughter.
Wright’s shooting ironically took place about 10 miles away from the courthouse where disgraced former cop Derek Chauvin was on trial for the murder of George Floyd, according to the New York Times.
Potter was just one of the officers at the scene just outside Minneapolis at 2 p.m. on April 11 when Wright was reportedly pulled over for expired vehicle registration. Responding officers discovered 20-year-old Wright had an outstanding warrant for previous charges of possessing a pistol without a permit and fleeing a police officer, according to USA Today. Court records reviewed by theGrio show those charges have since been dismissed.
Police body cam video of the incident shows Potter and at least one other officer attempted to arrest and handcuff Wright as he stood outside his vehicle before attempting to flee. The young dad is seen jumping back in the driver’s seat of his car before Potter and another officer attempt to pull him out and restrain him.
Potter is heard shouting “Taser! Taser! Taser!” in the video as she draws her handgun. “Holy sh–, I just shot him!” Potter is heard saying during the video.
She and other officers have since claimed she was attempting to tase Wright, but mistakenly grabbed and fired her handgun instead of her taser, reminiscent of the notorious 2009 fatal shooting of Oscar Grant in Oakland, California.
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