Court Battles

Ex-officer Kim Potter found guilty in fatal shooting of Daunte Wright

Kim Potter, the former Brooklyn Center, Minn., police officer who fatally shot 20-year-old Daunte Wright earlier this year after shouting “Taser,” on Thursday was found guilty of first- and second-degree manslaughter.

Judge Regina Chu required that Potter be taken into custody and held without bail. Potter’s sentencing date was set for Feb. 18. 

In a press conference following the verdict, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison (D) declined to give specifics regarding what sentence he would be calling for Potter to receive, only saying that he wanted “a fair one.”

“Accountability is not justice. Justice is restoration,” Ellison said. “Justice would be restoring Dante to life and making the Wright family whole again. Justice is beyond the reach that we have in this life for Daunte. But accountability is an important step, a critical, necessary step on the road to justice for us all.”

Officers said they pulled Wright over in April after noticing that he had been driving with an expired tag and an air freshener illegally hanging from his rearview mirror. Officers tried to arrest him after learning that there was a warrant out for his arrest regarding a misdemeanor weapons violation. 

Wright reportedly struggled against officers who tried to get him out of the car. Potter could be heard saying “Taser” in body camera footage while brandishing her gun toward him. Potter could later be heard saying “I just shot him” after the 20-year-old drove away.

Shortly after the fatal shooting, Potter resigned from the Minnesota police department.

Potter took the witness stand last week, breaking down at one point and saying “I’m sorry” as she was being cross-examined by prosecutors.

She said she had made a mistake and had sought to use her stun gun against Wright instead of her gun. The defense team claimed that an officer could have been dragged by Wright’s car, saying Potter would have been within her rights to use such force.

A use-of-force expert testifying for the prosecution argued otherwise during the trial.

“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.

The trial was also emotional for the family of Wright, whose father reminisced about his son and noted their close relationship.

“He was me and my wife’s first child,” Arbuey Wright said during emotional testimony on Wednesday, USA Today reported.

“I miss him a lot. Every day.”

— Updated at 4:23 p.m.

Tags Daunte Wright Daunte Wright shooting Keith Ellison Kim Potter Minnesota

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