US POLICING

Former Minnesota police officer to be charged with manslaughter for the killing of Daunte Wright

Kim Potter had been with the Brooklyn Center Police Department for 26 years when she accidentally killed Wright last Sunday, reportedly mistaking a handgun for her Taser.

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Former Minnesota police officer to be charged with manslaughter for the killing of Daunte Wright
NICHOLAS PFOSI REUTERS

The prosecutor in the case of the killing of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old black man in Minnesota, has confirmed that the police officer involved will be charged with manslaughter. Kim Potter resigned from the force on Tuesday after shooting dead Wright during a traffic stop.

The news comes as the state prepares for a verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis office charge with the murder of George Floyd last summer.

Why has Kim Potter been charged with manslaughter?

The charge of manslaughter was confirmed in an email from Pete Orput, Washington County’s top prosecutor, to the New York Times which stated that the charge would be filed officially on Wednesday.

The incident took place on Sunday when Potter, who was training other officers at the time, pulled Wright’s car over due to an allegedly expired registration on the vehicle. Potter, a 26-year police veteran, then discovered that there was an outstanding warrant out for Wright’s arrest and attempted to detain him.

Wright reportedly turned away to get back into his car and body-camera footage shows Potter warning that she would fire her Taser if he continued to resist. However after that warning the footage shows Potter firing a single bullet into the victim’s chest, killing him.

The town's police chief, Tim Gannon, who also submitted his resignation Tuesday, said that the shooting had been accidental as Potter had mistaken her handgun for the Taser.

Gannon said: "The officer had the intention to deploy their Taser, but instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet,” describing the fatal shooting as "an accidental discharge.”

Who is Kim Potter?

The officer charged with manslaughter for the killing of Daunte Wright had been a member of Minnesota’s Brooklyn Center Police Department for 26 years, joining the force in 1995. After submitting her resignation letter earlier this week she wrote that she had "loved every minute of being a police officer and serving this community to the best of my ability."

An experienced officer, she served as the police union’s president in 2019 and had been on the department’s negotiation team. At the time of the shooting of Daunte Wright on Sunday, she was working as a field training officer.

It appears that Potter will be represented at trial by one of the attorneys in the ongoing George Floyd case. Earl Gray, who is currently representing Thomas Lane, one of four officers involved in the killing of George Floyd, has told CNN that he will be Potter’s attorney at trial.