MINNEAPOLIS – The manslaughter trial for former Minnesota Police Officer Kim Potter is set to begin with opening statements on Wednesday, nearly eight months after the veteran cop shot and killed Daunte Wright while trying to arrest the young Black man during a traffic stop in a Minneapolis suburb.
Potter, 49, had been an officer for 26 years and was working for the Brooklyn Center Police Department on April 11, 2021, when she and other officers, including a trainee, attempted to stop Wright and then tried to arrest him after learning of a warrant for his arrest. Wright, 20, can be seen in a police video climbing back into the driver’s seat of a vehicle as the officers scuffle with him.
In Potter’s body camera video from the shooting, she can be heard yelling, “I’ll tase you!” and “Taser! Taser! Taser!” before firing her handgun.
She can then be heard saying, “I grabbed the wrong f—— gun,” followed by: “Holy s—, I just shot him.”
Potter resigned from the police department just days later. She has been charged with first- and second-degree manslaughter.
Her attorneys have argued that she mistook the gun for a Taser when she pulled the trigger.
According to sentencing guidelines for the state, a first-degree manslaughter conviction would mean more than seven years in prison, while second degree would mean four. But prosecutors have already indicated their plans to try for a longer sentence.
Hennepin County Judge Regina Chu is presiding over the case in the same courtroom where former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted in the death of George Floyd last April.
And some of the same faces will be involved in the prosecution such as Assistant Attorneys General Matthew Frank and Erin Eldridge.
Potter’s attorney has said she will take the stand in her own defense.
Fourteen jurors, including two alternates, were selected over the course of several days. Of the 12 lead jurors, 9 are White, two are Asian and one is Black. Both alternate jurors are also White.