Ex-Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kim Potter has been formally charged with second-degree manslaughter for the shooting death of Daunte Wright over the weekend, Washington County Attorney Peter Orput announced Wednesday afternoon.
Potter, 48, was arrested by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension early Wednesday, roughly 24 hours after the city announced she had submitted a letter of resignation. In the letter, Potter said that it was in the best interest of the community, the police department, and her colleagues for her to step down from the police force.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner has determined that Wright died of a gunshot wound. Under Minnesota state law, the former police officer faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of second-degree manslaughter and a maximum fine of $20,000.
“Certain occupations carry an immense responsibility and none more so than a sworn police officer,” Imran Ali, the assistant criminal division chief for Washington County and director of the Major Crime Unit, said in a written statement on Wednesday. “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.”
Wright was killed Sunday when police tried to arrest him after a traffic stop. Wright, 20, had a warrant out for his arrest for a misdemeanor weapons charge. When officers were trying to arrest him, he pulled away and attempted to enter his car, according to a summary of the fatal altercation from the Washington County Attorney’s Office.
The criminal complaint against Potter states that she pulled her Glock 9mm handgun with her right hand, and proceeded to point it at Wright and say she would tase him, according to the Washington County Attorney’s Office. Within seconds, Potter said “taser” three times and fired a single round from her gun into Wright, who said, “ah, he shot me.” After firing the gun once, Potter proclaimed, “Sh*t, I just shot him.”
An investigator with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension examined Potter’s duty belt and “saw that the handgun is holstered on the right side of the belt and her Taser is on the left side. The grips or handles of both the gun and Taser face Potter’s rear,” according to the county attorney’s office. “The Taser is yellow with a black grip. Also, the Taser is set in a straight-draw position, meaning Potter would have to use her left hand to pull the Taser out of its holster, according to the complaint,” said the attorney’s office.
Tim Gannon, the former police chief for Brooklyn Center, resigned from his position on Tuesday. The mayor of the city did not explain the exact reason for Gannon’s resignation.