Guilty verdict in Kim Potter trial, former police officer who shot Daunte Wright

Wright was shot during a traffic stop

A Minnesota jury has reached a guilty verdict on both charges in the case of Kim Potter, a White former police officer who fatally shot Black motorist Daunte Wright during a traffic stop in April. 

The jury started deliberations Monday after hearing about a week and a half of testimony in the case. Late Tuesday, they asked Judge Regina Chu what they should do if they could not arrive at a verdict. Speaking with the jurors, Chu told them they needed to continue with deliberations with open minds and a willingness to listen to each other’s viewpoints, CBS Minnesota reported.

Potter, 49, was charged with first- and second-degree manslaughter in the death of 20-year-old Wright, who attempted to flee during the stop. State guidelines for the more serious charge call for a seven-year sentence.

Potter gave emotional testimony in her own defence, and maintained that she meant to grab her Taser instead of her gun. But the state argued the mistake was not a defence.

“This was no little oopsie. This was not putting a wrong date on a check. This was not entering the wrong password somewhere,” said prosecutor Erin Eldridge, an assistant attorney general, in her closing argument. “This was a colossal screw-up. A blunder of epic proportions.”

The defense argued that Wright’s attempt to flee officers during the traffic stop was a factor in his death.

Image – Daunte Wright – CBS News

“Within seconds, [Wright] all of a sudden breaks away. That’s the cause, ladies and gentlemen of the jury,” said Potter’s attorney Earl Gray. “Did they prove beyond a reasonable doubt that she caused this death? No. Daunte Wright caused his own death, unfortunately. But those are the cold, hard facts.”

CBS Minnesota reports the jury of six men and six women heard from 25 witnesses for the prosecution and eight who testified for the defense.

Judge Chu ruled against a defense motion for a mistrial after the state’s rebuttal.

The April 11 shooting in Brooklyn Center, a suburb of Minneapolis, occurred during the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who was convicted of the 2020 murder of George Floyd. Floyd’s death sparked nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice. 

Brooklyn Center saw unrest for days after Wright’s death.