(The Center Square) – After days of deliberation, a jury found former Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter guilty of first-degree and second-degree manslaughter in the shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright, a Black man she pulled over for expired tags and a dangling air freshener.
Wright had no car insurance and no driver's license. He also had a restraining order against him and an outstanding bench warrant on a weapons charge. When officers attempted to handcuff him, Wright resisted and attempted to drive away.
Body camera footage shows Potter yelling “Taser, Taser, Taser!” before drawing her firearm and fatally shooting Wright.
The footage shows Potter shooting him and his car accelerating away. Right afterward, Potter said, “I just shot him. ... I grabbed the wrong (expletive) gun!”
Then, she dropped to the curb, saying, "I shot him, oh my God, oh my God."
Both sides agree the shooting was accidental, but disagree whether Potter’s actions were criminally negligent.
Potter's defense attorneys argued that she had the legal right to tase Wright for resisting arrest for a weapons warrant. Potter testified, saying police learned Wright had a restraining order filed against him and was unsure whether the woman in the vehicle Wright was driving was the person who filed the order.
But prosecutors argued the 26-year veteran acted recklessly and should have been trained better to accidentally confuse a lethal weapon with a nonlethal one.
Potter, 49, had pleaded not guilty to charges of first- and second-degree manslaughter and faces up to 11 years in prison. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Feb. 18.
Brooklyn Center is nine miles from Minneapolis.