Former Minneapolis police officer Kim Potter will testify in her defense in the trial over the killing of Daunte Wright.
Potter’s defense attorney Paul Engh said during jury selection on Tuesday that his client would take the stand during her trial to testify in her own defense over the events of April 11. Potter is facing charges of first- and second-degree manslaughter after she shot and killed Wright during a traffic stop.
“OFFICER POTTER WILL TESTIFY” Defense atty Paul Engh just assured Juror #6, his client #KimPotter will testify in her own defense abt what happened during deadly traffic stop encounter w/ #DaunteWright. Engh says whole thing “happened in 12 seconds,” Fox 9 reporter Paul Blume tweeted.
"OFFICER POTTER WILL TESTIFY" Defense atty Paul Engh just assured Juror #6, his client #KimPotter will testify in her own defense abt what happened during deadly traffic stop encounter w/ #DaunteWright. Engh says whole thing "happened in 12 seconds" #KimPotterTrial @FOX9
— Paul Blume (@PaulBlume_FOX9) November 30, 2021
Joe Tamburino, a criminal defense attorney not affiliated with Potter’s case, explained the charges Potter is facing to CBS News.
“In both cases, we’re dealing with recklessness or negligence. And for the first-degree manslaughter, that means that there’s an underlying offense. In this case, they’re alleging misdemeanor mishandling of a firearm,” he said. “For the second-degree, they’re just stating that it is reckless or extreme negligence. So for the second one, they would have to show that Ms. Potter was extremely negligent when she did the act. For the first-degree, they would have to show not only was she negligent, but also, she did an underlying crime, meaning the misdemeanor mishandling of a weapon.”
Potter was one of several police officers who stopped Wright on April 11 over expired registration tags. Authorities discovered that Wright had an open warrant out for his arrest while running his information, then attempted to detain him.
Video of the traffic stop shows Wright struggling with officers as they attempt to cuff him. Wright slips an officer’s grip and gets back into his car. Potter then shoots Wright once after yelling, “taser!” Former Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon, who along with Potter resigned after the incident, said that the shooting was accidental and that Potter believed she held her taser when she shot Wright.
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) November 30, 2021
Potter, who was a 26-year veteran of the police force, resigned days after the incident. “I have loved every minute of being a police officer and serving this community to the best of my ability, but I believe it is in the best interest of the community, the department, and my fellow officers if I resign immediately,” she wrote in a resignation letter.
She was also charged with second-degree manslaughter in April. The first-degree manslaughter charge came months later in September after Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison took over the prosecution against Potter.
“In taking over the prosecution of this case from the Washington County Attorney, Attorney General Ellison pledged to conduct a thorough review of the evidence and make an independent decision on the level of charges,” Ellison said in a statement at the time. “After conducting that review — which included consulting with an expert in police use of force — Attorney General Ellison confirmed that the original second-degree manslaughter charge is appropriate, but also concluded that an upgraded charge of first-degree manslaughter is warranted.”
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