Officer who fatally shot Daunte Wright charged with second-degree manslaughter: DA

Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, was shot during a traffic stop on Sunday.

April 14, 2021, 7:21 PM

Kim Potter, the white police officer who shot and killed Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, was charged Wednesday with second-degree manslaughter, authorities said.

Potter, 48, was arrested at about 11:30 a.m. local time and was booked into the Hennepin County Jail, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said.

Potter, a 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center Police Department, submitted her resignation on Tuesday following Sunday afternoon's fatal shooting.

She posted bond and was released from jail Wednesday evening. Potter is scheduled to appear in court at 1:30 p.m. local time Thursday, according to jail records.

Former Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter in a booking photo, April 14, 2021.
Hennepin County Sheriff's Office

Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon also submitted his resignation Tuesday.

Gannon said earlier this week that Potter intended to deploy her Taser instead of her gun when she "accidentally" shot Wright.

Wright, a father to a 2-year-old boy, was driving in Brooklyn Center, just outside of Minneapolis, when he was stopped by police. The officers -- Potter and an officer she was training -- initially pulled him over for an expired registration tag on his car but determined during the traffic stop that he had an outstanding gross misdemeanor warrant, according to Gannon.

Daunte Wright is seen here in an undated file photo.
Wright Family

As police tried to take Wright into custody, he got back into the car, police said. Potter then announced that she would use the taser on Wright, according to the Washington County Attorney's Office.

"She pulled her Glock 9mm handgun with her right hand and pointed it at Wright, saying again that she would tase him," prosecutors said in a statement Wednesday. "Potter said 'Taser, Taser, Taser,' and pulled the trigger on her handgun."

After firing, Potter said, "S---, I just shot him!" according to prosecutors.

Daunte Wright is seen here in an undated file photo.
Wright Family

Potter's gun was holstered on the right side of her belt and the Taser was on the left side, with the handles for both facing her back, prosecutors said.

"The Taser is 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," prosecutors said.

Attorneys Benjamin Crump, Jeff Storms and Antonio Romanucci, who are representing Wright's family, said in a statement Wednesday, "While we appreciate that the district attorney is pursuing justice for Daunte, no conviction can give the Wright family their loved one back."

"This was no accident. This was an intentional, deliberate, and unlawful use of force," the attorneys claimed. "A 26-year veteran of the force knows the difference between a taser and a firearm. Kim Potter executed Daunte for what amounts to no more than a minor traffic infraction and a misdemeanor warrant."

Brooklyn Center Police Department in Brooklyn Center, Minn. on April 14, 2021.
Stephanie Ramos/ABC News

In a resignation letter to city officials on Tuesday, Potter wrote, "I have loved every minute of being a police officer and serving this community to the best of my ability, but I believe it is in the best interest of the community, the department, and my fellow officers if I resign immediately."

A second-degree manslaughter conviction in Minnesota carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

Later in the evening, acting Brooklyn Center City Manager Reggie Edwards said at a news conference that Potter's resignation was accepted, and he couldn't comment on the charge since she wasn't a city employee. He noted that she would be entitled to her benefits due to her resignation.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said Wednesday that it will continue to work with the Washington County Attorney's Office on the case.

Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliot ordered another curfew to begin at 10 p.m. local time and end at 5 a.m. the next morning as more protests are planned.

Edwards said the city is working on establishing a new community crisis management team to address the issues between the police and citizens.

Officer Kim Potter, part of the Brooklyn Center Police negotiation team, in a photo taken on May 31, 2007.
Star Tribune via Getty Images, FILE

"Trust will not be built overnight," he said.

Dozens of arrests have been made in recent nights as police and protesters clashed. Officers were seen using pepper spray, rubber bullets and gas to disperse crowds and there were reports that some protesters threw bottles or other items at officers.

Elliot denounced the use of gas and other irritants by officers. He urged protesters to remain peaceful and obey the curfew.

"All eyes of the world are on Brooklyn Center," Elliot said. "We need to show and must show the very best of our community. Mr. Wright’s family deserves that."