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Minnesota ex-cop testifies at trial over killing of Daunte Wright -Breaking


© Reuters. A poster depicting Daunte is shown after Kimberly Potter’s opening statements at the manslaughter case against her. She was a former Minnesota officer who has been charged with the fatal shooting Daunte, a Black man.


Nathan Layne

(Reuters] – Kimberly Potter, a white ex-police officer from Minnesota who fatally shot Daunte Wright, a Black motorist, in April, claimed that she mistook her Taser for a handgun. Potter took the stand in Friday’s high-profile manslaughter case.

Potter, who is 49 years old, has pleaded no guilty to charges of first-and second-degree manslaughter, carrying maximum sentences that can reach 15 and 10 year, respectively. Potter, 49, allegedly thought that she was drawing her stun weapon when she accidentally shot Wright in his chest using her Glock pistol during a traffic stop.

On Thursday, after weeks of witness testimony that aimed mainly at establishing Potter’s extensive training and making her criminally culpable for Wright’s murder, the prosecutor settled their case.

Potter was 26 years old and a veteran of Brooklyn Center, Minneapolis’ police force. The shooting provoked protests that lasted several nights, critics claiming it was yet more evidence of police violence towards Black Americans.

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It happened just miles from where Derek Chauvin (a former Minneapolis police officer) was also on trial for George Floyd. George Floyd is a Black man who died in 2020 after an arrest that set off protests against racial injustice in many U.S. towns. Chauvin was convicted for murder.

Wright had an aerosol can hanging from his rearview camera and expired plates. Potter and another officer pulled him over. Wright was not cooperatively resisting an arrest warrant that was issued for him on misdemeanor weapon charges.

Potter can clearly be heard shouting out “taser…taser…taser” on the body-worn camera she carries and from her video feed from her squad vehicle. Wright, however, managed to break free of a second officer, and drove away. To assist Wright in her arrest, a third officer entered the car through the passenger’s side.

Potter’s attorneys tried to present the officer’s situation as dangerous, justifying Potter using force even though she used the wrong weapon. Potter was required to stop Wright from driving away because they claimed that Wright’s third officer could be dragged down the street.

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