On Thursday, jurors convicted suburban Minneapolis police officer Kim Potter 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 officer Potter guilty of first-degree and second-degree manslaughter. The 49-year-old Potter faces about seven years in prison on the most serious count under the state’s sentencing guidelines, however, prosecutors said they would be seeking a longer term.
Potter 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.
Jurors were shown video of the shooting that was captured by police body cameras and dashcams. In sometimes tearful testimony, Potter told jurors that she was “sorry it happened.” She said that she shouted her warning about the Taser after she saw a look of fear on the face of Sgt. Mychal Johnson, who was leaning into the passenger-side door of Wright’s car. She also told jurors that she doesn’t remember what she said or everything that happened after the shooting, as much of her memory of those moments “is missing.” Potter’s lawyers argued that she made a mistake by drawing her gun instead of her taser.
Under Minnesota law, defendants are sentenced only on the most serious conviction if multiple counts involve the same act and the same victim. The maximum sentence for first-degree manslaughter is 15 years. A sentencing date was set for Friday, February 18 at 10 a.m. ET.
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