Trial of Former Police Officer Starts Over Fatal Shooting of Daunte Wright

The trial of former Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kim Potter for the death of Daunte Wright, a Black man, began on Dec. 8.

Potter, 49, faces first- and second-degree manslaughter charges for the fatal shooting of 20-year-old motorist Wright that took place earlier this year.

Potter has pleaded not guilty to both charges.

In its opening statement, prosecution said that the case was about Potter’s “recklessness and negligence.”

Potter has said that she meant to grab her stun gun when she and other officers attempted to arrest Wright, but she fired her gun instead.

Assistant Minnesota Attorney General Erin Eldridge told the court that a loaded pistol weighed twice more than a taser.

“This case is about an officer who knew not to get it dead wrong. But she failed to get it right,” Eldridge said, adding that Potter failed her sworn duty as a police officer.

Defense Attorney Paul Engh argued in his opening statement that the incident was an accident, not a crime.

Engh further said that Potter was trying to protect her partner Sergeant Michael Johnson who was partially in Wright’s car during the attempted the arrest.

Engh said that Johnson would be injured if Wright drove away.

“She had to do what she had to do to prevent a death to a fellow officer too,” Engh said.

Potter is expected to testify in her own defense in the trial at Hennepin County Government Center — the same courtroom where former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder for the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man.

Wright’s death on April 11 sparked nationwide protests against racial violence and police brutality and it came when the Chauvin trial was taking place.


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