A Minneapolis jury reached an “outcome” on Thursday in the trial of Kim Potter, a former police officer charged with fatally shooting Daunte Wright, a Black motorist — accidentally, she’s claimed, by grabbing her gun instead of a Taser.
Hennepin County Judge Regina Chu is expected to reveal the outcome — reached by a panel of two Asian Americans, one Black person and nine white people — between 1:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. CST.
Potter, a former Brooklyn Center police officer, who is white, has pleaded not guilty to first- and second-degree manslaughter charges for the April 11 death of 20-year-old Wright. The fatal shooting fueled protests not just in Minnesota, but across the country, as demonstrators rallied against police violence and racial injustice.
While prosecutors and the defense agree that Potter didn’t set out to kill Wright when he was pulled over earlier this year, they disagree about her potential criminal culpability.
A conviction on first-degree manslaughter would mean Potter improperly used “such force and violence that death of or great bodily harm to any person was reasonably foreseeable.”
The second-degree manslaughter charge alleges that Potter’s “culpable negligence” created “unreasonable risk, and consciously takes chances of causing death or great bodily harm to another.”
The charges carry a maximum sentence of 15 years and 10 years, respectively.
Wright’s fatal shooting happened about 10 miles from the courthouse where former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was on trial for the slaying of George Floyd.
Days later, Chauvin, who is white, was convicted of second- and third-degree murder, as well as second-degree manslaughter, in the May 25, 2020, killing of Floyd, a Black man, whose death touched off a summer of national protests calling for an end to institutional racism.
Potter’s trial was held in the same courtroom where Chauvin’s trial was carried out.
A tearful Potter testified in her own defense last week and described a “chaotic” scene that required her to make a split-second decision.
Wright was being arrested on an outstanding weapons charge when he tried getting back into his car. Potter testified that she feared for the safety of another officer, Sgt. Mychal Johnson, who was struggling with Wright from the passenger side.
Potter holstered her Glock on her right, dominant side and her Taser on the left.
The prosecution played footage from Potter’s body camera for jurors, showing how the officer had the Glock in her hand for at least five seconds before firing the deadly round.
The Glock used to kill Wright weighed 2.11 pounds, compared to the .94-pound Taser that emanates light and needed a safety switch to be pulled before use, prosecutors said.
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