Officer charged with manslaughter in shooting of Black driver | www.WDIO.com

Officer charged with manslaughter in shooting of Black driver

WDIO-TV
Updated: April 14, 2021 10:47 PM
Created: April 14, 2021 11:28 AM

A former Brooklyn Center police officer has been arrested and charged with second-degree manslaughter in the death of Daunte Wright.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said its agents arrested Kim Potter at about 11:30 a.m. in St. Paul. She was booked into the Hennepin County Jail and released around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. 

KSTP reports she paid $100,000 to be released without conditions. 

The manslaughter charge carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison. The case is being handled by an outside prosecutor, the Washington County Attorney's Office.

Imran Ali, the Washington County assistant criminal division chief said occupations like a police officer carry "an immense responsibility."

"With that responsibility comes a great deal of discretion and accountability," Ali said in a press release. "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." 

Potter, 48, fatally shot 20-year-old Black motorist Daunte Wright during a traffic stop on Sunday. The Brooklyn Center police chief, who has since resigned, said Monday that he believed Potter accidentally reached for her handgun when she meant to use her taser.

A BCA investigator said Potter's handgun was holstered on the right side of her belt and her Taser on her left. Both handles faced toward her rear. The BCA reported the Taser was 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," the press release said, citing the criminal complaint.

Potter, who had worked for the Brooklyn Center Police Department for 26 years, resigned on Tuesday.

Attorney Ben Crump and co-counsels Jeff Storms and Antonio Romanucci, who are representing the Wright family, said they appreciate that the prosecutor is pursuing justice but said no conviction can bring Daunte back to his family.

"This was no accident. This was an intentional, deliberate, and unlawful use of force.  Driving while Black continues to result in a death sentence.  A 26-year veteran of the force knows the difference between a taser and a firearm," Crump and his team said in a news release.

The BCA said its investigation remains "active and ongoing."

The shooting ignited days of protests and unrest. It happened while the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, in the death of George Floyd is progressing.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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