(MINNEAPOLIS) — The trial of former Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kim Potter charged in the death of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man who was fatally shot during a traffic stop, began Wednesday.
Opening statements took place in the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis.
Potter, 49, is charged with first-degree and second-degree manslaughter in the April 11 incident. She has pleaded not guilty to both charges.
Potter has said she meant to grab her stun gun, but accidentally shot her firearm instead when she and other officers were attempting to arrest Wright, who had escaped the officers’ grip and was scuffling with them when he was shot.
Wright was initially pulled over for an expired registration tag on his car, but officers discovered he had an outstanding warrant for a gross misdemeanor weapons charge and tried to detain him, according to former Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon.
The maximum sentence for first-degree manslaughter is 15 years and a $30,000 fine and for second-degree manslaughter, it’s 10 years and a $20,000 fine.
Wright’s death reignited protests against racism and police brutality across the U.S., as the killing took place just outside of Minneapolis, where the trial of Derek Chauvin, a former officer who was convicted of murdering George Floyd, was taking place.
Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:
Dec 09, 3:09 am
Minnesota governor prepares National Guard ‘out of an abundance of caution’
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced that he is preparing the Minnesota National Guard to provide public safety assistance if necessary during Kim Potter’s trial, as requested by Hennepin County and the city of Brooklyn Center.
“Out of an abundance of caution, we are prepared to ask members of the Minnesota National Guard to be available to support local law enforcement with the mission of allowing for peaceful demonstrations, keeping the peace, and ensuring public safety,” Walz said in a statement Wednesday evening.
A press release from Walz’s press office stated that, “at this time, the Minnesota National Guard will not be proactively assuming posts throughout the Twin Cities.” Guard members will only operate in support of local law enforcement “should they be needed,” according to the press release.
Dec 08, 6:49 pm
New body-cam footage shows Potter moments after shooting Wright
New body-worn camera footage played in the courtroom while the prosecution questioned Brooklyn Center officer Anthony Luckey showed the moments after Kim Potter shot Daunte Wright.
In the video, taken from Luckey’s body-worn camera, Potter can be seen falling to the curb.
“Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God,” she said, before hyperventilating for several minutes with her face buried in the grass.
Luckey’s and Sgt. Mychal Johnson’s arms can be seen reaching down to Potter.
“Just breathe,” Luckey can be heard saying.
“I’m going to go to prison,” Potter said.
“No, you’re not,” Luckey said.
“Kim, that guy was trying to take off with me in the car!” Johnson said in the video.
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