Former police officer Kim Potter was found guilty of first and second-degree manslaughter in the death of Daunte Wright on Thursday.
The jury’s decision comes after roughly 27 hours of deliberation. Deliberation began on Monday after closing arguments from the prosecution and Potter’s defense team. Potter’s sentencing is scheduled for February 18. The first degree charge carries a potential sentence of up to 15 years. Second degree carries a maximum sentence of 10 years.
The trial mostly wrapped up last week on Friday after Potter testified in her own defense. During her testimony, she broke down multiple times expressing remorse for what happened on April 11 when she fatally shot Wright, a 20-year-old black man. Potter shot Wright while attempting to tase the young man as he struggled with and attempted to flee police.
Potter’s defense team has never contested that she mistakenly pulled her gun when she meant to pull her taser, and that that mistake led to Wright’s death. Instead, the defense has painted a sympathetic picture of a person stuck in a chaotic and dangerous situation where split-second decisions had to be made.
The prosecution argued that Potter’s lethal mistake is grossly negligent inexcusable.
“This was no oopsie, this not putting the wrong date on a check, this was not entering the wrong password, this was a colossal screw-up, a blunder of epic proportions, it was precisely the thing she was warned about for years, it was irreversible and it was fatal,” prosecutor Erin Eldridge said in closing arguments on Monday.
Potter was one of several police officers who stopped Wright on April 11 over expired registration tags. While checking his information, authorities discovered that Wright had an open warrant for a gun charge out for his arrest.
Wright struggled with officers after they attempted to detain him. Wright got back into his vehicle and struggled with one officer over the gear shift of the vehicle. As the two struggled, Potter pulled her gun and, after shouting “Taser,” she fatally shot Wright.
Potter broke down multiple times while testifying last week. In one exchange with Eldridge, Potter began to apologize for killing Wright. The exchange happened as follows:
Erin Eldridge: You’d agree that, as a police officer, you have the duty to render aid and communicate information to other officers, right?
Kim Potter: Yes.
EE: And it’s part of your job to assist those who are hurt or injured. True?
EE: And to communicate to other officers what you know about a particular scene, right?
EE: Give them whatever information you can to help them do their jobs to help render assistance, things like that. Right?
EE: But you didn’t do any of those things on April 11, did you?
EE: You stopped doing your job completely. You didn’t communicate what happened over the radio, right?
EE: You didn’t make sure any officers knew what you had just done, right?
EE: You didn’t run down the street and try to save Daunte Wright’s life, did you?
EE: You didn’t check on the other car that had been hit, did you?
EE: That all happened just down the road from you.
EE: You were focused on what you had done because you had just killed somebody.
KP: I’m sorry it happened. I’m so sorry.
EE: Mrs. Potter, from your reaction today and your reaction on your video, you didn’t plan to use deadly force that day, did you?