Deliberations continue; Jurors in Kim Potter trial ask about not reaching verdict | www.WDIO.com

Deliberations continue; Jurors in Kim Potter trial ask about not reaching verdict

Kim Potter took the stand in her own defense on Friday, Dec. 17 Kim Potter took the stand in her own defense on Friday, Dec. 17 |  Photo: CourtTV pool feed

Associated Press contributed to this report
Updated: December 21, 2021 06:38 PM
Created: December 21, 2021 10:50 AM

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The jury ended its second day of deliberations without reaching a verdict in the manslaughter trial of the suburban Minneapolis police officer who fatally shot Daunte Wright during a traffic stop. The jury weighing Kim Potter’s fate broke at about 6 p.m. Tuesday. The jury had returned Tuesday after meeting for about a half-day Monday following closing arguments.

Late Tuesday afternoon, the jurors weighing the case asked the judge after a full day of deliberations what they should do if they can’t reach a verdict. Judge Regina Chu told them to continue working, as was explained in the initial instructions she gave them. The jury also asked if they could remove zip ties keeping former Brooklyn Center officer Kim Potter’s gun in an evidence box so they could hold it and the judge said they could. The gun would then be returned to the box and zip-tied once the jurors are through with it.

On Monday, prosecutors accused Kim Potter of a “blunder of epic proportions” in Wright’s death in an April 11 traffic stop — but said a mistake was no defense.

Potter’s attorneys countered that Wright, who was attempting to get away from officers as they sought to handcuff him for an outstanding warrant on a weapons charge, “caused the whole incident.”

RELATED STORY: Jury begins deliberating cop's case in Daunte Wright death

In Monday's closing arguments, prosecutor Erin Eldridge called Wright's death "entirely preventable. Totally avoidable." She urged the jury not to excuse it as a mistake: "Accidents can still be crimes if they occur as a result of reckless or culpable negligence."

"She drew a deadly weapon," Eldridge said. "She aimed it. She pointed it at Daunte Wright's chest, and she fired."

Potter's attorney Earl Gray argued that Wright was to blame for trying to flee from police. Potter mistakenly grabbed her gun instead of her Taser because the traffic stop "was chaos," he said.

"Daunte Wright caused his own death, unfortunately," he said. He also argued that shooting Wright wasn't a crime.

"In the walk of life, nobody's perfect. Everybody makes mistakes," Gray said. "My gosh, a mistake is not a crime. It just isn't in our freedom-loving country."

The jury is sequestered at a hotel, meaning they won't go home until a verdict is reached, however they are allowed to text their family. 

Judge Regina Chu told jurors that intent is not part of the charges and that the state doesn't have to prove she tried to kill Wright.  She also told jurors they have an obligation to put all sympathy and emotion aside, and that it has no place in their deliberations. 

The judge said for first-degree manslaughter, prosecutors must prove that Potter caused Wright's death while committing the crime of reckless handling of a firearm. This means they must prove that she committed a conscious or intentional act while handling or using a firearm that creates a substantial or unjustifiable risk that she was aware of and disregarded and that she endangered safety.

For second-degree manslaughter, prosecutors must prove she acted with culpable negligence, meaning she consciously took a chance of causing death or great bodily harm.

Credits

Associated Press contributed to this report

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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