MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (AP) — Jurors on Thursday convicted a suburban Minneapolis police officer of two manslaughter charges in the killing of Daunte Wright, a Black motorist she shot during a traffic stop after she said she confused her gun for her Taser.
The mostly white jury deliberated for about four days before finding former Brooklyn Center officer Kim Potter guilty of first-degree and second-degree manslaughter. Potter, 49, faces about seven years in prison on the most serious count under the state’s sentencing guidelines, but prosecutors said they would seek a longer term.
Potter, who is white, shot and killed the 20-year-old Wright during an April 11 traffic stop in Brooklyn Center as she and other officers were trying to arrest him on an outstanding warrant for a weapons possession charge. The shooting happened at a time of high tension in the area, with former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin standing trial just miles away for the killing of George Floyd.
Potter resigned two days later.
Jurors saw video of the shooting that was captured by police body cameras and dashcams. It showed Potter and an officer she was training, Anthony Luckey, pull over Wright for having expired license plate tags and an air freshener hanging from his rear-view mirror. During the stop, Luckey discovered there was a warrant for Wright’s arrest for not appearing in court on the weapons possession charge, and he, Potter and another officer went to take Wright into custody.
In sometimes tearful testimony, Potter told jurors that she was “sorry it happened.” She said the traffic stop “just went chaotic” and that she shouted her warning about the Taser after she saw a look of fear on the face of Seargeant Mychal Johnson, who was leaning into the passenger-side door of Wright’s car. She also told jurors that she doesn’t remember what she said or everything that happened after the shooting, as much of her memory of those moments “is missing.”