Former Minnesota Police Officer Kim Potter will be charged with second-degree manslaughter in connection to the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright.
Wright died during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, on Sunday, April 11 – just 10 miles from where George Floyd’s death took place. Potter, 48, who is said to have served in the Brooklyn Center Police Department for 26 years, shot him after reportedly trying to deploy her Taser, instead shooting her gun.
The 20-year-old died from a gunshot wound to the chest, sparking unrest, protests and riots over racial injustice and excessive police force.
As reported by AP, Potter will be charged with second-degree manslaughter. According to Washington County Attorney Pete Orput, this carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine. Due to the nature of his death, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office classified it as a homicide.
In Minnesota, second-degree manslaughter is used when a person is accused of causing someone’s death via ‘culpable negligence whereby the person creates an unreasonable risk, and consciously takes chances of causing death or great bodily harm to another’.
Both Potter and Police Chief Tim Gannon resigned from the department in the wake of Wright’s death. ‘[It] is my belief that the officer had the intention to deploy their Taser but instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet,’ Gannon earlier said.
He added, ‘This appears to me from what I viewed and the officer’s reaction in distress immediately after that this was an accidental discharge that resulted in the tragic death of Mr. Wright.’
In bodycam footage, Potter can be seen and heard warning Wright, ‘I’ll Tase you! I’ll Tase you! Taser! Taser! Taser!’ Wright then breaks free from the officers and gets into his vehicle, before Potter discharges a single shot from her handgun. As the car speeds away, she exclaims, ‘Holy sh*t! I shot him.’
Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott said, ‘We have to make sure that justice is served, justice is done. Daunte Wright deserves that. His family deserves that.’
Amid backlash to the explanation of accidentally grabbing her handgun instead of her taser, considering the difference between the two weapons as well as Potter’s experience, his father Aubrey Wright also told Good Morning America, ‘I lost my son. He’s never coming back. I can’t accept that. A mistake? That doesn’t even sound right. This officer has been on the force for 26 years. I can’t accept that.’
Benjamin Crump, a reputable civil rights attorney who’s represented the families of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and others, will also represent Wright’s family.