Trial of former officer who fatally shot Daunte Wright to begin
Jury selection begins Tuesday for the trial of Kim Potter, the former Brooklyn Center police officer who fatally shot 20-year-old Daunte Wright during a traffic stop last April. Here's what you need to know about the case:
The incident: Potter and another officer pulled over Wright, who was Black, in the Minneapolis suburb on April 11 for a hanging air freshener and expired tags, according to an amended criminal complaint.
- Potter, who is white, shot and killed Wright while attempting to take him into custody over a separate, active arrest warrant discovered during the stop.
The fallout: Wright's death, which happened during the Derek Chauvin murder trial, sparked days of protests in the Minneapolis suburb.
- It also led city leaders to pledge significant public safety reforms, including changes to the city's traffic stop policies.
The charges: Potter is charged with first- and second-degree manslaughter.
- The second-degree charge requires a finding of "culpable negligence," while the first-degree alleges that Potter acted in a reckless manner to cause Wright's death, as The Star Tribune notes.
- Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison's office is prosecuting the case.
The key question: Police and Potter's attorney have said the 26-year veteran inadvertently pulled out her gun instead of a Taser after Wright tried to flee the encounter.
- Body camera footage shows Potter yell "Taser" just before the shooting, and tell officers "S--t! I just shot him. ... I grabbed the wrong f-----g gun" right after.
- Jurors will weigh that argument as they decide whether her actions meet the legal requirement for the charges.
Of note: Access to the Hennepin County Government Center, which houses the downtown Minneapolis courtroom, will be restricted for the duration of the trial.
- Judge Regina Chu is allowing the trial to be livestreamed, as Chauvin's was, over COVID-19 concerns.
What's ahead: The trial is expected to last several weeks from the start of jury selection, with opening statements scheduled for Dec. 8.