A jury in the manslaughter trial of former police officer Kim Potter has begun deliberating after prosecution and defense delivered their closing arguments on Dec. 20 in Minneapolis.
Prosecutors said in their closing arguments that Potter should be held criminally responsible for the fatal shooting incident they described as “a colossal screw-up, a blunder of epic proportions.”
“It was precisely the thing she had been warned about for years and she was trained to prevent it. It was irreversible and it was fatal,” Assistant Attorney General Erin Eldridge told the court.
“It was a tragedy of her own making. And it’s not just a tragedy, it’s manslaughter,” Eldridge also said.
Potter, a former white Brooklyn Center police officer, faces charges of first-degree and second-degree manslaughter for fatally shooting 20-year-old Black motorist Daunte Wright during a traffic stop on April 11.
Potter, a 26-year veteran in the force, has pleaded not guilty to the charges and has said that she accidentally pulled her gun instead of her taser when she tried to arrest Wright.
Meanwhile, the defense argued that “a mistake is not a crime” and that Wright, who attempted to flee, was responsible for his own death.
“He didn’t want to go to jail. He wasn’t going to listen to these police officers. That’s the cause. Everything before that the police officers did as they were supposed to,” Defense Attorney Earl Gray told the court.
However, Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank told the jurors that there was no “mistake defense.”
“The judge will not give you an instruction that says a person is not guilty if they commit a mistake. That’s not the law no matter how often the defense says ‘mistake,’ Frank said.
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