Former Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, police officer Kim Potter — the woman accused of shooting and killing Daunte Wright on Sunday during a traffic stop — has been charged with second-degree manslaughter.
The Minnesota Star Tribune reported Potter, a 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center Police Department, was arrested and charged on Wednesday morning by officers with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, at the direction of a prosecutor in nearby Washington County.
Potter was on patrol with a trainee on Sunday afternoon when she and other officers pulled over Wright, 20. Video shared of the incident by police shows Wright struggle with officers when a female officer said to be Potter yelled for a taser.
Latest #BLM violence near Minneapolis sparked by police shooting of #DaunteWright. He was wanted on a warrant when he attempted to flee by car. He was shot & drove a distance before crashing into others. His FB is filled w/him flashing gang signs, using drugs & showing off cash. pic.twitter.com/StANTcJ2bs
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) April 12, 2021
She instead pulled out her service weapon and fired one shot, police said. Wright was struck and died later after taking off in his car. Wright, at the time he was pulled over for an expired tag, was wanted on an outstanding warrant related to a “gross misdemeanor weapons charge,” according to a statement from the Washington County Attorney’s Office cited by Lead Stories.
Police called the shooting an accident.
“This appears to me, from what I viewed and the officer’s reaction and distress immediately after, that this was an accidental discharge that resulted in the tragic death of Mr. Wright,” former Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said Monday during a media briefing. Gannon stated that Potter had believed she reached for her taser.
Gannon resigned on Tuesday, as did Potter.
Former Brooklyn Center City Manager Curt Boganey was fired from his job after stating during the same media briefing that he felt Potter was entitled to due process.
“All employees working for the city of Brooklyn Center are entitled to due process with respect to discipline,” Boganey said. “[The officer who shot Wright] will receive due process and that’s really all that I can say today.”
Asked to expound on why he didn’t want to see Potter fired from her job before the facts of the case were pieced together, Boganey again called for due process.
“If I were to answer that question, I’d be contradicting what I said a moment ago — which is to say that all employees are entitled to due process and after that due process, discipline will be determined,” he said. “If I were to say anything else, I would actually be contradicting the idea of due process.”
Boganey was fired for the comments following an emergency city council meeting later that evening.
The state criminal statute for second-degree manslaughter in Minnesota could see Potter face a lengthy prison sentence of up to a decade, should she be convicted.
“A person who causes the death of another by any of the following means is guilty of manslaughter in the second degree and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than ten years or to payment of a fine of not more than $20,000, or both,” the state says of the charge.
The Star Tribune reported Potter has hired a criminal defense attorney. She is currently being held in the Hennepin County jail.
CORRECTION, April 16, 2021: This article originally misstated the charges on the warrant that was open at the time of Wright’s death. That single sentence has been changed to include a statement from the Washington County Attorney’s Office and to remove a link to a Fox News story that made the same error.
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