Potter Shot and Killed Daunte Wright with One Shot to the Chest While He Resisted at a Traffic Stop
A jury of twelve has found Kim Potter, the former Brooklyn Center police officer who shot and killed Daunte Wright, guilty on counts of both first- and second-degree manslaughter (WCCO – CBS Minnesota). YouTube Tips ⓘ
The jury in Hennepin County Court in Minnesota found Kimberly Potter guilty of first-degree manslaughter and second-degree manslaughter on Thursday, December 23, 2021.
Guilty — Manslaughter in the First Degree While Committing a Misdemeanor
Guilty — Manslaughter in the Second Degree — Culpable Negligence
Hennepin County Judge Regina Chu ordered that Potter be immediately remanded into custody and held without bail after the verdict. Her sentencing was scheduled for February 18, 2022.
On Sunday, April 11, 2021, Wright was driving with his girlfriend in a white 2011 Buick LaCrosse. A Brooklyn Center trainee officer was driving a patrol car with Kimberly Potter as a passenger, observed the vehicle signaling a right turn while it was inside a left turning lane. The trainee officer also discovered that the vehicle had an expired registration tag on its license plate and had an air freshener hanging from the car’s rearview mirror, which is a violation of Minnesota state law. At 1:53 p.m. local time, the trainee officer initiated a traffic stop of Wright’s vehicle on 63rd Avenue North and Orchard Avenue in Brooklyn Center. The trainee officer also called for backup.
After Dantue pulled over and stopped the Buick LaCrosse, the trainee officer walked to the vehicle and obtained the driver’s name — Daunte Wright. Wright, who did not have a driver’s license or proof-of-insurance card, called his mother, while the trainee officer returned to his police vehicle. Potter’s supervisor arrived at the scene. The officers ran Wright’s name through a police database and learned that he had an open arrest warrant for failing to appear in court on a gross misdemeanor weapons violation for carrying a gun without a permit. There was also an order of protection against him by an unnamed woman. The officers moved to arrest Wright and confirm that his passenger was not the same woman who had the protective order against him.
Potter’s police body camera imaging showed two male officers and police officer Kimberly Potter approaching the car. The trainee officer approached the driver’s side door, and Potter’s supervisor approached the passenger’s side door, while Potter, who was acting as a field training officer, initially stood back.
The trainee officer informed Wright that there was a warrant for his arrest, and then the police officer opened the driver’s side door and Wright stepped out of the car. Wright faced the car and put his hands behind his back while the trainee officer attempted to put handcuffs on Wright. There seemed to be a slight difficulty getting the handcuffs on, and then Potter approached to help. She moved Daunte Wright’s right arm slightly to expose his hands, and then Daunte Wright began to resist by moving his right arm to evade Potter’s grasp, and then got inside the Buick LaCrosse. A piece of paper was exchanged from the trainee officer to Potter. She accepted the paper with her right hand moved it to her left hand. She was next seen with her handgun drawn in her right hand. She fired one shot into Daunte Wright, and the car traveled forward away from the police officers.
Daunte Wright died of a gunshot wound to the chest. Wright’s girlfriend was not shot, but she suffered a minor injury when the Buick crashed into another car at 63rd Avenue North and Kathrene Drive after traveling forward about 400 feet with the mortally wounded Daunte Wright in the driver’s seat.
Potter state she thought she had her Taser in her hand instead of her handgun. In the body cam video she is heard shouting Taser, Taser Taser around the time of the shooting.
The Brooklyn Center City Council recommended the firing of Kimberly Potter and Police Chief Tim Gannon during an emergency meeting on April 12, 2021. On April 13, 2021, Gannon and Potter resigned.
Potter was arrested, and charged with second-degree manslaughter on April 14, 2021. Prosecutors also filed the criminal case of State of Minnesota vs. Kimberly Potter in Hennepin County District Court on April 14, 2021.
Jury selection began on November 30, 2021, and opening statements in the trial began on December 8, 2021.
Closing arguments on December 20, 2021 were followed by deliberations by by the jury on the same day.
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