NATIONAL NEWS

Kim Potter trial jury in Wright death resumes deliberations

Dec 21, 2021, 9:38 AM
Crews work to clean snow off the walkway outside the Hennepin County Government Center on December ...
Crews work to clean snow off the walkway outside the Hennepin County Government Center on December 21, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Jury deliberations are ongoing in the trial of former Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter, who is charged with manslaughter in the April 2021 shooting death of Daunte Wright. Potter says she thought she was using her Taser when she shot Wright with her handgun. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A jury resumed deliberations Tuesday in the trial of the suburban Minneapolis police officer who says she meant to use her Taser instead of her gun when she shot and killed Black motorist Daunte Wright.

The jury met for about five hours Monday and resumed deliberating for a second day at 9 a.m. Tuesday. The jury is being sequestered during deliberations.

The jury got the case following closing arguments in which 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.”

Potter, who is white, is charged with first- and second-degree manslaughter. If convicted of the most serious charge, Potter, 49, would face a sentence of about seven years under state guidelines, though prosecutors have said they will seek more.

The mostly white jury got the case after about a week and a half of testimony about an arrest that went awry, setting off angry protests in Brooklyn Center just as nearby Minneapolis was on edge over Derek Chauvin’s trial in George Floyd’s death. Potter resigned two days after Wright’s death.

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.”

Potter testified Friday that she “didn’t want to hurt anybody” and that she was “sorry it happened.”

Eldridge said the case wasn’t about whether Potter was sorry.

“Of course she feels bad about what she did. … But that has no place in your deliberations,” she said.

Playing Potter’s body camera video frame by frame, Eldridge sought to raise doubts about Potter’s testimony that she fired after seeing “fear” on the face of another officer, then-Sgt. Mychal Johnson, who was leaning into the car’s passenger-side door and trying to handcuff Wright.

The defense has argued that Johnson was at risk of being dragged and that Potter would have been justified in using deadly force. But Eldridge pointed out that for much of the interaction Potter was behind a third officer, whom she was training, and that Johnson didn’t come into her camera’s view until after the shot was fired — and then it showed the top of his head as he backed away.

“Sgt. Johnson was clearly not afraid of being dragged,” Eldridge said. “He never said he was scared. He didn’t say it then, and he didn’t testify to it in court.”

Eldridge also noted that Potter put other people at risk when she fired her gun, highlighting that the third officer was so close to the shooting that a cartridge casing bounced off his face.

“Members of the jury, safe handling of a firearm does not include firing it into a car with four people directly in harm’s way,” she said.

Gray started his closing argument by attacking Eldridge’s summation, highlighting how she had played slowed-down depictions of events that Potter saw in real time.

“Playing the video not at the right speed where it showed chaos, playing it as slow as possible … that’s the rabbit hole of misdirection,” Gray said. He also noted that Potter’s body camera was mounted on her chest and gave a slightly different perspective than her own vision.

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.

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.

___

Associated Press writer Michael Tarm in Chicago contributed to this story. Bauer reported from Madison, Wisconsin.

___

Find the AP’s full coverage of the Daunte Wright case: https://apnews.com/hub/death-of-daunte-wright

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hea...
SAM METZ, ASSOCIATED PRESS

‘Mitt Romney Republican’ is now a potent GOP primary attack

Mitt Romney isn't up for reelection this year. But Trump-aligned Republicans hostile toward the Utah senator have made his name a recurring theme in this year's primaries, using him as a foil and derisively branding their rivals “Mitt Romney Republicans."
11 hours ago
FILE PHOTO (Deseret News)...
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Police: 5-month-old girl in car fatally shot in Chicago

A 5-month-old girl was shot to death while in the rear of a car in a neighborhood on Chicago's South Side.
11 hours ago
FILE: WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 06: U.S. Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) speaks as (L-R) Sen. Ted Cruz (R...
SEAN MURPHY, ASSOCIATED PRESS

Senator in 2010 deposition: 13-year-olds can consent to sex

Before he became a leading voice for conservative causes on Capitol Hill, U.S. Senator James Lankford spent more than a decade as the director of youth programming at the Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center, a sprawling campground about 80 miles south of Oklahoma City that attracts more than 50,000 campers in grades six through 12 each year.
11 hours ago
FILE -- Grad student creates 3D campus for master's project. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News...
David Sharp, ASSOCIATED PRESS

Religious schools may face another hurdle to state tuition

Religious schools got what they wanted when the Supreme Court allowed them to participate in a state tuition program.
11 hours ago
Bodycam footage from the Moab Police Department that shows them talking with Brian Laundrie is seen...
Jamiel Lynch and Chenelle Woody, CNN

Lawyer releases pages from Brian Laundrie’s notebook in which he admits to killing Gabby Petito

The attorney for the family of Brian Laundrie on Friday released eight pages from Laundrie's notebook that was found near his remains in Florida in October last year, according to a news release obtained by CNN affiliate WINK.
11 hours ago
Authorities stand guard by a fence outside the Supreme Court following Supreme Court's decision to ...
DÁNICA COTO and CARA ANNA Associated Press

US abortion ruling sparks global debate, polarizes activists

The end of constitutional protections for abortions in the United States has pemboldened abortion opponents around the world, while advocates of abortion rights worry the Supreme Court ruling could threaten recent moves toward legalization in their countries.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Kim Potter trial jury in Wright death resumes deliberations