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Kim Potter guilty of manslaughter in Daunte Wright’s death
By AP News Amy Forliti & Scott Bauer
Published December 23, 2021

Graphic shows the charges and verdict for Kim Potter in the Daunte Wright officer Trial; 2c x 1 3/4 inches; with AP-US–Daunte Wright-Officer Trial; PH; ETA 6 p.m.

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.

Judge Regina Chu ordered Potter taken into custody and held without bail, and scheduled her to be sentenced on Feb. 18. As she was led away in handcuffs, a man in the courtroom shouted “We love you, Kim!”

This photo provided by Ben Crump Law, PLLC. shows Daunte Wright and his son, Daunte Jr., at his first birthday party. Wright, 20, was fatally shot by Kim Potter, a white suburban Minneapolis police officer, during a traffic stop on Sunday, April 11, 2021. Potter is currently on trial for manslaughter in Wright’s death. (Ben Crump Law, PLLC. via AP)

Outside the courthouse, dozens of people who had gathered erupted in cheers, hugs and tears of joy as the verdicts were read. Two men jumped up and down holding one another’s shoulders. Other people then began jumping up and down in place and chanting “Guilty, guilty, guilty!”

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They chanted “Say his name! Daunte Wright.” Some held yellow signs that said “guilty” in large block letters.

Potter, who testified that she “didn’t want to hurt anybody,” looked down without showing any visible reaction when the verdicts were read. As Chu thanked the jury, Potter made the sign of the cross.

Potter’s attorneys argued against her being held with no bail, saying she was not going to commit another crime or go anywhere.

“It is the Christmas holiday season,” Potter attorney Paul Engh arued. “She’s a devoted Catholic, no less, and there is no point to incarcerate her at this point in time.”

Chu rejected their arguments.

This still image taken from from police body cam video shows Daunte Wright during a traffic stop on April 11, 2021. Assistant Attorney General Erin Eldridge delivered closing arguments, Monday, Dec. 20, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, in the trial of former Brooklyn Center police Officer Kim Potter for Wright’s death during the encounter. (Court TV via AP, Pool)

“I cannot treat this case any differently than any other case,” she said.

The time-stamps on the verdicts showed that the jurors agreed on the second count on Tuesday, before they asked the judge that afternoon what to do if they were having difficulty agreeing. The guilty verdict on the more serious first-degree count was reached at 11:40 a.m. Thursday.

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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.

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