Minnesota officer who shot Black man after traffic stop charged with manslaughter


Local police say the officer, Kimberly Potter, may have mistakenly fired her handgun on Wright instead of a type of a stun gun while trying to restrain him.

The former Minnesota police officer charged with manslaughter in the fatal shooting of a 20-year-old Black man during a traffic stop made her first court appearance on Thursday as the family called for "full accountability" for his death.

Police said they had stopped Mr Wright for having an expired tag on his auto licence plate, but then tried to arrest him on an outstanding warrant. Others felt the 26-year veteran of the force should have been charged with murder.

She was charged with second-degree manslaughter and booked into Hennepin County jail without bond, jail records said.

Wright's death came as the broader Minneapolis area nervously awaits the outcome of the trial for Derek Chauvin, the first of four officers charged in George Floyd's death.

The Washington County Attorney's Office, which brought the case, said Potter was acting as her partner's field training officer at the time of the shooting.

Potter's behavior after the shooting, where she said, "Oh s--", could indicate she did not intend to kill Wright, Burke added.

Intent isn't a necessary component of second-degree manslaughter in Minnesota.

The charge - which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison - can be applied in circumstances where a person is suspected of causing a death by "culpable negligence", which creates an unreasonable risk and consciously takes chances to cause a death.

On Tuesday, Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott announced Potter had resigned, as well as Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon.

Both Gannon and Potter have since resigned from the police force, and Potter is under investigation by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. The warrant was for his failure to appear in court on charges that he fled from officers and possessed a gun without a permit during an encounter with Minneapolis police in June.

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In the video, Potter can be heard shouting: "Taser, Taser, Taser!" as she draws her weapon and opens fire on Wright in his auto after he had just pulled away from a fellow officer.

'I'll Tase you! I'll Tase you! I'll Tase you! Taser! "Taser! Taser! Taser!" then fires her handgun.

The Taser remained holstered beside Potter's nondominant hand; the weapon is a bright yellow color and has a different grip.

The Wright family's attorneys - Benjamin Crump, Jeff Storms, and Anthony Romanucci - 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".

"Kim Potter executed Daunte for what amounts to no more than a minor traffic infraction and a misdemeanor warrant", he said.

A few years ago, Daunte Wright was talking to a high school mentor about what to do if he was pulled over by police.

"The warrant was issued because he missed an April 2 court date", Kyle Christopherson, a spokesman for the Minnesota State Court Administrator's Office, said by email.

For a fourth straight night, protesters surrounded the Brooklyn Center Police Department demanding justice.

Dozens of protesters had gathered in front of the PPA offices, chanting Wright's name and setting off fireworks, Portland-based journalist Suzette Smith said on Twitter. The Black former Minneapolis police officer fatally shot Justine Ruszczyk Damond, a white woman who was a dual citizen of the USA and Australia, in the alley behind her home after she called 911 to report what she thought was a woman being assaulted.

Brooklyn Center, a suburb just north of Minneapolis, has seen its racial demographics shift dramatically in recent years. The suburb's police station is now barricaded behind concrete barriers and tall metal fencing, watched over by police in riot gear and National Guard soldiers with armored vehicles and assault rifles. In 2000, more than 70% of the city was white.