The jury reached a decision in the shooting of Daunte Wright after four days of deliberating. They found Kim Potter guilty of both first and second-degree manslaughter.
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.
Wright obeyed Luckey’s order to get out of his car, but as Luckey tried to handcuff him, Wright pulled away and got back in. As Luckey held onto Wright, Potter said “I’ll tase ya.” The video then shows Potter holding her gun in her right hand and pointing it at Wright. Again, Potter said, “I’ll tase you,” and then two seconds later: “Taser, Taser, Taser.” One second later, she fired a single bullet into Wright’s chest.
“(Expletive)! I just shot him. … I grabbed the wrong (expletive) gun,” Potter said. A minute later, she said: “I’m going to go to prison.”
Potter’s defense was two-fold. First she argued that using her gun instead of her taser was a mistake, one made in the heat of the moment. Second, her attorneys argued that, under the circumstances, she would have been justified in using her gun. Obviously, the jury ultimately didn’t buy those explanations.
For first-degree manslaughter, prosecutors had to prove that Potter caused Wright’s death while committing a misdemeanor — in this case, the “reckless handling or use of a firearm so as to endanger the safety of another with such force and violence that death or great bodily harm to any person was reasonably foreseeable.”
The second-degree manslaughter charge relates to negligence, i.e. taking actions that could cause serious harm. In this case she was convicted on both counts so, under Minnesota law, she’ll only be sentenced on the more serious count. The sentencing guidelines for first-degree manslaughter suggest she’s facing seven years in prison but prosecutors are asking for more.
Here’s video of the verdict being read in court.
GUILTY VERDICT: A jury of 12 found Kim Potter guilty on both first- and second-degree counts of manslaughter in the shooting death of Daunte Wright. | https://t.co/MmLkdS1ovW pic.twitter.com/ShgAYHn5TK
— WCCO – CBS Minnesota (@WCCO) December 23, 2021
Outside the courthouse there were cheers.
The reaction outside the Hennepin County Government Center when Kim Potter’s manslaughter guilty verdict was read.. pic.twitter.com/ZpB9MS3YFB
— Rob Olson (@RobOlsonFOX9) December 23, 2021
Here’s the body camera footage that was the key evidence in the trial. Because it’s age-restricted you’ll have to watch this on YouTube:
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