Former Brooklyn Center Police Department Officer Kim Potter, who shouted “taser” moments before fatally shooting a 20-year-old man who appeared to be resisting arrest in video of the altercation, will stand trial for manslaughter at the end of this year, a Hennepin County judge said Monday.
According to The Washington Post, Hennepin County Judge Regina Chu said that Potter will be scheduled for trial in December in connection with Daunte Wright’s death. Potter, who served on the police force for 26 years before resigning, was charged with second-degree manslaughter mere days after the fateful altercation with Wright.
“I do find that there’s probable cause to support the charge against the defendant, Ms. Potter,” said Chu in a virtual hearing Monday, reports the Associated Press.
Bodycamera footage of the incident, released shortly after the shooting, showed Potter shouting “taser” several times before shooting Wright with her service weapon. Moments later, Potter was heard proclaiming, “Sh*t, I just shot him,” and the car Wright had been in driving continued moving forward before crashing down the street.
As The Daily Wire previously reported, 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.
As the AP noted, a second-degree manslaughter charge does not require intent: “The charge — which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison — can be applied in circumstances where a person is suspected of causing a death by ‘culpable negligence’ that creates an unreasonable risk and consciously takes chances to cause a death.”
After the shooting, former Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon told reporters that he believed Potter intended to fire her taser, based on the video evidence. He resigned the following day along with Potter, who said she was doing so in the best interest of the community.
“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 said.
Per Minnesota law, Potter faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted 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. “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.”
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