Final arguments Monday in Potter trial; jury could soon reach verdict

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Monday morning, final arguments will begin in the Kimberly Potter trial.

Potter is the former Brooklyn Center police officer charged with first- and second-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of Daunte Wright.

Wright was pulled over by Potter and two other officers on Apr. 11. Potter eventually shot and killed Wright — her main point of defense is that it was an accident and that she meant to grab her Taser.

Monday’s final arguments by the defense and prosecution follow one of the most emotional days of the trial on Friday when Potter testified. She broke down in tears multiple times, including when she recalled the moment she shot Wright.

“I remember yelling Taser, Taser, Taser and nothing happened,” Potter answered while testifying.

“Then [Wright] told me I shot him,” Potter added while crying.

Despite the emotion, a former prosecutor and current law professor at the University of St. Thomas, Mark Osler believes the video footage of what happened after the shooting is the defense’s strongest evidence.

“I’ve said, for a long time, we can expect the defense to go to the video to what shows that she made a genuine mistake, that it was an error, and nothing intentional,” Osler, who is not affiliated with the Potter trial, said.

KSTP’s complete trial coverage

As for Potter’s emotional testimony, Osler feels there could be concern from jurors about whether it was genuine.

“I think probably in the end, the video of the incident is going to have more of an impact than what she said on the stand,” Osler added.

He also said that the state will have a tougher task with its final argument.

“They’re going to have to explain the law, [and] the law on these two manslaughter charges is pretty complicated,” Osler explained. “That’s a challenge, especially given that they bear such a high burden.”

Osler expects final arguments to wrap up before the end of the day Tuesday, with a good chance both sides will finish Monday. At that point, the jury will receive their instructions and then begin to deliberate.

“The most important jury instructions are those that define terms like ‘negligence’ or ‘intentional’ in a case like this,” Osler said. “Where you have some technical aspects and those state-of-mind elements is going to be especially important that the jury is attentive — and from what we’ve seen in the trial so far, this is a very attentive jury.”

Court is scheduled to reconvene at 9 a.m. Monday.