The white female police officer who shot dead Daunte Wright will be charged with second-degree manslaughter over the black man’s killing.
Washington County Attorney Pete Orput said Wednesday that the Washington County Attorney’s Office will file at least one count of manslaughter against Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kimberly Potter, the Star Tribune reported.
Under Minnesota law, a second-degree-murder charge is filed when a person is accused of causing another person’s death by ‘culpable negligence whereby the person creates an unreasonable risk, and consciously takes chances of causing death or great bodily harm to another.’
If convicted, Potter faces up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
Potter, 48, shot and killed 20-year-old Wright Sunday during a traffic stop just 10 miles from the courthouse where another white cop Derek Chauvin is currently being tried for the murder of black man George Floyd.
The veteran officer, who has worked for the department for 26 years but allegedly confused her gun for a taser, resigned from the force Tuesday as protests erupted in the city demanding justice for Wright.
Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kimberly Potter and Police Chief Tim Gannon both resigned on Tuesday two days after the 20-year-old black man was shot dead after he was pulled over for what police said were expired license plate tags
Potter, a white veteran police officer, shot dead 20-year-old Daunte Wright, during a traffic stop in Minneapolis on Sunday after allegedly confusing her gun for a taser
The case had been referred to Orput by Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman due to a rule adopted last year that deadly police shootings should be handled by either another county or the state Attorney General’s Office in order to prevent conflict of interest.
Potter is being represented by attorney Earl Gray – who also represents Thomas Lane, one of the three other cops charged over Floyd’s death whose trial will begin in August.
Gray also worked on the legal team for Jeronimo Yanez, the former cop who was charged over the shooting death of black man Philando Castile during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, in 2016.
Yanez was found not guilty of second-degree manslaughter and two counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm by a jury in 2017.
Potter was placed on administrative leave immediately after Sunday’s shooting and calls mounted for her to be fired, including by Mayor Elliot.
She then resigned Tuesday, issuing a short resignation letter where she did not address the deadly shooting.
‘I have loved every minute of being a police officer and serving this community to the best of my ability, but I believe it is in the best interest of the community, the department and my fellow officers if I resign immediately,’ Potter said.
Protests erupted again Tuesday night near Brooklyn Center Police Station as people demand justice for Wright and his family
Activists raise their arms as they confront State troopers, National Guard members and other law enforcement officers following a march for Daunte Wright
A march for Daunte Wright, who was shot and killed by former Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kim Potter, in Brooklyn Center
Barriers and metal fencing were put up around the home of Officer Kimberly Potter Tuesday
Mayor Elliot said he had not accepted her resignation and was making sure ‘we are being accountable to the steps that we need to take’.
The married mother-of-two is thought to have left her home in Minneapolis the same day after her address was posted on social media.
Police guarded the property Tuesday night and fencing was erected around it as protesters took to the streets for a third night in outrage at the killing of another black man at the hands of law enforcement.
Police Chief Tim Gannon also resigned on Tuesday, one day after he said during a tense press conference that Wright’s death was the result of ‘accidental discharge’ after Potter mistook her taser for a gun.
Wright’s family have said they cannot accept the theory that his death was an accident.
Wright’s father Aubrey Wright told ABC’s Good Morning America Tuesday: ‘I cannot accept that. I lost my son, he’s never coming back. I can’t accept a mistake, that doesn’t even sound right,’ Aubrey said.
‘This officer has been on the force for 26 years.’
Wright’s mother Katie Wright said she wanted to see Potter be ‘held accountable for everything that she’s taken from us.’
Police body cam footage of the fatal incident showed three officers approaching Daunte Wright’s car in Brooklyn Center on Sunday after he had been pulled over for the traffic stop
Potter could be heard shouting ‘Taser!’ several times in the moments before she fired her gun. Immediately after, she can be heard saying: ‘I shot him’. It appears she dropped her gun in the aftermath
They called for charges to be brought against Potter.
Potter was training a rookie cop on Sunday afternoon when the fatal incident unfolded near N. 63rd and Orchard avenues in Brooklyn Center.
Police said Wright was first pulled over by the officers for expired license plate tags.
After running his name, the officers learned there was an outstanding warrant out for Wright’s arrest, police said.
Authorities have not confirmed the nature of the warrant but court records show Wright was being sought after failing to appear in court last month on misdemeanor charges that he fled from officers and possessed a gun without a permit during an encounter with Minneapolis police last June.
His aunt has said the warrant was for marijuana possession.
Wright’s mother Katie said her son called her from the vehicle after he was stopped by the officers to ask her for insurance information.
She said she then heard the officers telling Wright to get out of the car before she heard a struggle break out.
‘Then the police officer asked him to hang up the phone,’ said Katie.
‘Three or four seconds went by. I tried calling back to back to back because I didn’t know what was going on.’
She said she later called back and his girlfriend, who was in the car with him, answered crying and screaming that he had been shot.
Body camera footage released Monday showed Potter and the two other officers at the scene approaching Wright’s car after pulling him over.
The footage showed one officer trying to handcuff Wright as a second officer told him he was being arrested on a warrant.
Wright immediately jumped back into his car in an apparent attempt to flee.
A struggle then broke out between the officers and Wright, who was still sitting inside his car.
‘I’ll Tase you! I’ll Tase you! Taser! Taser! Taser!’ Potter could be heard shouting in her bodycam video.
Instead, Potter fired her handgun at Wright.
Daunte Wright’s parents Katie and Aubrey said they could not accept their son’s death was a mistake after police revealed Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kimberly Potter accidentally fired her gun instead of her taser
Immediately after, Potter can be heard saying: ‘Holy sh*t. I shot him’.
Wright managed to drive several blocks before coming to a stop when he hit another car.
He was pronounced dead at the scene and his girlfriend, who was a passenger in the car, sustained non-life-threatening injuries.
Potter is a married mother of two, who was first licensed as a police officer in Minnesota in 1995 at age 22, according to state records obtained by the Star Tribune.
She has served on the city’s negotiation team, and was among the first to arrive at the scene of another officer-involved shooting, in August 2019.
In that case, Kobe Dimock-Heisler died after he allegedly rushed at officers with a knife in a home.
Potter instructed the two officers involved in the 2019 incident ‘to exit the residence, get into separate squad cars, turn off their body worn cameras, and to not talk to each other,’ according to an investigative report from the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, obtained by the paper.
Both officers’ actions were found to be justified and no charges were filed.
Potter has been a union president for her department’s officers, the paper reported, and was a longtime member of the Law Enforcement Memorial Association.
Katie Wright, the mother of Daunte Wright, speaks as other family and friends and family attorney Ben Crump, listen during a press conference at the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota on April 13
Potter has two adult sons and lives with her husband, a former Fridley police officer, in a different Minneapolis suburb, the paper reported.
She had annual salary of $86,190, according to public records from 2018.
Ben Crump, a civil rights attorney who helped win a $27 million legal settlement for the Floyd family, is also representing the Wrights.
In a tweet, Crump said he believed that Potter ‘knew exactly what she was doing’ in a previous case which he said she told officers how to ‘obscure accountability’.
He wrote about the previous incident involving Dimock-Heisler and Potter, saying she ‘taught officers who fatally shot Kobe Dimock-Heisler how to protect themselves & obscure accountability’.
Crump, quoting a Hennepin County Attorney’s Office report, wrote that Potter had previously instructed two police officers in the previous case to ‘exit the residence, get into separate squad cars, turn off their body worn camera, and to not talk to eаch other.
‘Of course Kim Potter knew exactly what she was doing. She knew how to obscure the truth. In that instance, her actions were clearly intentional,’ he wrote.