Photo: Hennepin County Jail.
Photo: Hennepin County Jail.
Updated: April 14, 2021 07:17 PM
Created: April 14, 2021 10:59 AM
Wednesday, the Washington County Attorney's Office formally charged former Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kim Potter with second-degree manslaughter in the death of Daunte Wright.
If convicted, Potter could face a maximum of 10 years in jail, a $20,000 fine or both.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said agents arrested Potter at about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at the BCA in St. Paul. Her preliminary bail was set at $100,000 without conditions or $50,000 with conditions. Her initial court appearance is set for Thursday afternoon.
According to the BCA, Potter was booked in the Hennepin County Jail. She was later released with no conditions on a $100,000 bond at 5:38 p.m.
KSTP has also learned that Washington County Attorney Pete Orput met with Wright's family and their attorneys, led by Ben Crump, on Tuesday night and informed them of the decision to charge Potter.
Potter, 48, had been with Brooklyn Center Police for 26 years before she submitted her resignation on Tuesday. Tim Gannon, who'd been Brooklyn Center's chief of police until he also resigned on Tuesday, said during a press conference earlier this week that he believed the shooting was accidental, noting Potter indicated she was using a Taser before she actually fired a gunshot.
Body camera footage shows Potter yelled, "Taser!" but fired her service weapon, killing the 20-year-old Wright as he tried to get back into his car during a traffic stop Sunday afternoon.
After the gunshot was fired, a criminal complaint states Wright said, "Ah, he shot me," before speeding away in the vehicle. At that time, Potter was also heard saying, "(Expletive), I just shot him!"
The complaint notes Potter's Taser was yellow with a black grip and was in a straight-draw position on her left side, meaning Potter would've had to use her left hand to draw it from its holster.
"Certain occupations carry an immense responsibility and none more so than a sworn police officer," said Imran Ali, Washington County assistant criminal division chief and director of the Major Crime Unit. "With that responsibility comes a great deal of discretion and accountability. We will vigorously prosecute this case and intend to prove that Officer Potter abrogated her responsibility to protect the public when she used her firearm rather than her taser. Her action caused the unlawful killing of Mr. Wright and she must be held accountable. County Attorney Peter Orput and I met with the family, expressed our deepest sympathies and assured them we would spare no resources in seeking justice for Mr. Wright."
The Washington County Attorney's Office is handling the case at the request of the Hennepin County Attorney's Office so that there would be no potential conflict of interest.
The BCA's investigation remains active.
Attorney Ben Crump and co-counsel Jeff Storms and Antonio Romanucci released the following statement Wednesday:
"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. Driving while Black continues to result in a death sentence. A 26-year veteran of the force knows the difference between a taser and a firearm. Kim Potter executed Daunte for what amounts to no more than a minor traffic infraction and a misdemeanor warrant. Daunte's life, like George Floyd's life, like Eric Garner's, like Breonna Taylor's, like David Smith's meant something. But Kim Potter saw him as expendable. It's past time for meaningful change in our country. We will keep fighting for justice for Daunte, for his family, and for all marginalized people of color. And we will not stop until there is meaningful policing and justice reform and until we reach our goal of true equality."
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