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Kim Potter Found Guilty of Manslaughter in Shooting Death of Daunte Wright

Kim Potter Found Guilty of Manslaughter in Shooting Death of Daunte Wright

The Minnesota police officer who fatally shot a Daunte Wright during a traffic stop in April has been found guilty of first- and second-degree manslaughter.

Kimberly Potter will be held without bail as she awaits her sentencing in the shooting of the 20-year-old unarmed Black man. The incident occurred in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center when Potter says Wright allegedly resisted arrest after being pulled over. Potter’s former police chief said that the officer believed she was shooting her Taser, and not her service weapon, when she fired a single shot that killed Wright.

Photo by Bruce Bisping/Star Tribune via Getty Images

According to the criminal complaint, Potter’s Glock 9mm handgun was holstered on the right side of her duty belt, with the Taser on the left side and the handles of both facing Potter’s rear. The Taser is supposedly distinguishable by its yellow color with a black grip, and set in a “straight-draw position,” meaning Potter would likely have to use her left hand to pull it from its holster. But she shot Wright with her right hand, the complaint states.

Potter had entered a plea of Not Guilty in the trial that had started in late November. Her body camera footage revealed that after Daunte Wright was pulled over and approached by two officers for what former Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said were expired car tags, Wright, standing by the open driver’s side door of his vehicle, wrestled free of handcuffs as they were being applied. Wright then apparently jumped back into his car with his girlfriend inside and appeared to try to drive off.

As the unarmed Wright did so, “the officer had the intention to deploy their Taser but instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet,” Gannon said at a news conference after the shooting. Wright was struck in the chest. His vehicle then traveled several blocks before crashing into another car, and he died at the scene. During the trial, Potter’s defense called the shooting a “horrific mistake,” but also asserted that Potter would have been within her rights to use deadly force on Wright because he could have dragged another officer with his car.

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Potter was taken into custody and held without bail to await her sentencing in January. The first-degree manslaughter charge carries a maximum sentence of seven years, while the second-degree charge carries a four-year charge.

 

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