Police officer Kim Potter faces manslaughter charge

Kim Potter, the Minnesota police officer who fatally shot Daunte Wright, was arrested Wednesday morning on a charge of second-degree manslaughter, authorities said.

Potter’s arrest came a day after she resigned from the Brooklyn Center Police Department and three days after her shooting of the 20-year-old Black man. She faces a maximum possible sentence of 10 years in prison if convicted.

Wright’s death, which occurred as he fled a police traffic stop, heightened already-high tensions in and around Minneapolis due to the murder trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin for last year’s killing of George Floyd.

Kim Potter, a 26-year veteran who resigned from the Brooklyn Center police force, poses for a booking photograph at Hennepin County Jail for fatally shooting 20-year-old Daunte Wright during a traffic stop, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 14, 2021.

Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office via Reuters

Body camera video footage from Potter during Sunday’s confrontation suggests she believed she had pulled out a Taser when she pointed the weapon at Wright and fired after he twisted away from another officer who was trying to handcuff him next to his SUV.

Wright had been pulled over by police in Brooklyn Center for having expired license plates and an air freshener hanging from his rearview mirror.

Police then tried to arrest Wright after learning that he was wanted on an outstanding warrant for failing to appear in court in a criminal case, where he was charged with carrying a gun without a permit, as well as with fleeing from police in June.

Potter frantically and repeatedly yelled “Taser!” before shooting Wright as he sat in his vehicle’s driver seat after ducking away from the other officer.

Potter’s Taser is colored bright yellow, in contrast to her black Glock 9mm pistol.

Washington County, Minnesota, prosecutor Pete Orput announced that Potter would be criminally charged for Wright’s death.

Brooklyn Center, Minnesota Police officer Kim Potter in 2007.

Bruce Bisping | Star Tribune via Getty Images

She was arrested Wednesday morning at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Authorities said she would be booked into the Hennepin County Jail, and that the Washington County prosecutor’s office would file charges later Wednesday.

Authorities said that the investigation of the shooting remains active.

Wright’s older brother told NBC News that the family had hoped that Potter would be charged with a more serious crime.

“I’m not too happy about it but I’ll take every win I can get at the moment,” Dallas Bryant, Wright’s 23-year-old brother.

A group of attorneys representing the Wright family said in a statement, “”While we appreciate that the district attorney is pursuing justice for Daunte, no conviction can give the Wright family their loved one back.”

“This was no accident. This was an intentional, deliberate, and unlawful use of force,” the lawyers said.

Ex-Police officer Kim Potter’s house is blocked by security barricades in Champlin, Minnesota on April 14, 2021.

Kerem Yucel | AFP | Getty Images

Potter, who served 26 years on the Brooklyn Center force and previously was president of its police union, has retained a defense attorney, Earl Gray, according to the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association. Gray did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Gray is also representing former Minneapolis police officer Thomas Lane, one of two other ex-officers scheduled to be tried separately from Chauvin on lesser charges related to the death of Floyd, who like Wright was black.

Floyd’s killing by Chauvin ignited nationwide protests over police misconduct against minority suspects, and calls for major reform of policing practices.

Wright’s death has led to protests in Brooklyn Center and Minneapolis.

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