Jury Finds Former Minnesota Police Officer Kim Potter Guilty Of Manslaughter In Shooting Death Of Daunte Wright
After deliberating for 26 hours the jury found Kim Potter guilty of first-degree and second-degree manslaughter charges in the April shooting and death of Daunte Wright.
Potter is facing up to 25 years in prison. The jury was made up of seven white men, four white women, two Asian women, and one black woman.
Assistant Minnesota Attorney General Erin Eldridge told jurors Monday the case was “very simple” and is about the “reckless handling of a firearm,” accusing Potter of “culpable negligence.” Eldridge said that despite the defense maintaining the incident was a “mistake,” “an accident is still a crime.”
Potter’s defense attorney Earl Gray told jurors Potter was justified in her use of deadly force and that her actions were not reckless because she “didn’t know she had a gun.”
Potter pleaded not guilty to all charges. Potter did take the stand and told jurors that she was “struggling” with Wright while “trying to keep him from driving away, it just went chaotic, and then I remember yelling ‘taser, taser, taser’ and nothing happened,” Potter said. “And then he told me I shot him.”
Bodycam footage from Brooklyn Center Sgt. Mychal Johnson shows a frantic Potter screaming “Oh my God!” after she realized she had shot Wright, as she fell to the ground sobbing uncontrollably.
Johnson tried to console Potter and could be heard saying “Kim, that guy was trying to take off with me in the car.” Johnson later testified Wright could’ve dragged him. A veteran Missouri police officer, Stephen Ijames testified Potter was justified in using force – whether it be the taser or the gun. Ijames testified the officers were likely hyper-vigilant upon learning Wright had an active warrant out for his arrest.
Footage of the incident captured Wright breaking free from police as they tried to hold his hands behind his back during the arrest. Wright then jumped into the driver’s seat of the car and put it into gear.