Court Battles

Expert at Kim Potter trial: ‘use of deadly force was not appropriate’

A use-of-force expert on Wednesday said former Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter was not justified in shooting 20-year-old Daunte Wright.

“The use of deadly force was not appropriate and the evidence suggests a reasonable officer in Officer Potter’s position could not have believed it was proportional to the threat at the time,” University of South Carolina School of Law professor Seth Stoughton said on the stand.

Stoughton, who previously worked as a peace officer, also testified earlier this year as an expert in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was ultimately convicted of murdering George Floyd.

As The Associated Press reported, the defense in the trial has acknowledged that Potter made a mistake but argued that if Potter had meant to grab her gun, she would have been within her rights to do so because of the risk that Wright would drag another officer with him when he drove away.

Stoughton was asked if it would have been reasonable for an officer in Potter’s position to use deadly force if they knew that their taser warning had caused their colleague to back out of the car.

“No, it would not have been proportional because there is no longer an imminent threat of death or great bodily harm,” said Stoughton.

To justify deadly force, Stoughton said an officer in Potter’s position would have had to know that their fellow officer was in the car and was at risk of being dragged and stopping the driver would prevent this from happening.

Wright, 20, was pulled over by police in April after officers saw that his tag was expired and he also had an air freshener hanging from his rearview mirror, which is a violation of Minnesota state law. Officers discovered that there was a warrant out for Wright’s arrest for a misdemeanor weapons violation and attempted to arrest him.

When officers attempted to remove Wright from his car, he pulled back into his car. Body camera footage from the incident showed that Potter shouted, “Tase him!” and pointed her gun at him. After Wright drove away, Potter could be heard saying, “I just shot him.”

Potter faces charges of first-degree and second-degree manslaughter.

Tags Black Lives Matter Killing of Daunte Wright Minnesota Race in the United States

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