Kim Potter: Officer who shot Daunte Wright makes first court appearance

Fatal shooting of 20-year-old during traffic stop has sparked days of protests

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
Thursday 15 April 2021 23:25
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Daunte Wright was ‘accidentally’ shot dead by officer who was trying to taser him
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Kim Potter, a former police officer in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center, made her first appearance in court on Thursday, following days of protests over her fatal shooting of Daunte Wright.

She’s facing manslaughter charges after killing Mr Wright, an unarmed, 20-year-old Black man, during a traffic stop over the weekend, where authorities say she mistakenly fired her gun thinking it was her Taser.

Ms Potter only appeared briefly at the hearing, which was conducted via Zoom, to acknowledge she was present. On Wednesday, she was charged with second-degree manslaughter, and was freed on a $100,000 (£72,579) bail later that evening.

Her next court date is set for 17 May.

It has been just under a year since Minneapolis police killed George Floyd, setting off a massive wave of protests, and the city is back in crisis.

Protests have continued since Sunday, when Mr Wright was killed, and in response authorities have mobilised scores of riot police, sheriff’s deputies, and National Guard troops to Brooklyn Center.

They’ve been accused of excessive force on protestors, targeting journalists for arrest, and terrorising residents who live near the Brooklyn Center police station with tear gas and unprovoked arrest.

State and local authorities have also put curfews into place each night since Sunday.

Brooklyn Center police chief Tim Gannon also resigned on Tuesday, and the city’s mayor Mike Elliott took control of the police force earlier this week.

The latest high-profile killing of a Black man by a white police officer comes as Minnesota was just wrapping up its case against Derek Chauvin. He’s the former Minneapolis police officer charged with murdering George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, during an arrest for a counterfeit $20 bill last May.

Witness testimony in the high-profile trial concluded on Thursday, and closing arguments are expected on Monday. From there, it will be up to jurors to decide whether to convict Mr Chauvin on multiple charges of murder and one charge of manslaughter.

That process could take anywhere from minutes to weeks, depending on where the jury stands. It will take all 12 jurors being in agreement to reach a guilty verdict.

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