Trial of ex-cop who killed black motorist Daunte Wright begins

The manslaughter trial of ex Minnesota police officer Kim Potter is to begin this Wednesday 8 December, over the death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright as he was driving home. The police say that Ms Potter had accidentally drawn her gun instead of her Taser and did not mean to shoot Mr Wright.

There are now two manslaughter charges against her name over the event that occurred in April 2021 and sparked unrest between civilians and the police. According to the police defence team, Mr Wright was pulled over due to an expired tag on his licence as he was driving through a Minneapolis suburb. His family have claimed he was being racially profiled by the police.

Daunte Wright was told during the stop that he was facing arrest over a previous outstanding warrant, and there is body cam footage of him attempting to flee. He had missed a court date for two earlier misdemeanour charges. In the footage, Ms Potter can be heard saying “Taser” multiple times before firing her pistol.

Mr Wright’s mother received a call from her son as he was pulled over and has claimed she heard a scuffle and a police officer telling him to hang up. When she called back, she was informed by Mr Wright’s girlfriend, who had been in the car with him, that he had been shot.

Ms Potter has claimed the shooting was an accident, and she and Brooklyn Park, MN, Police Chief, Tim Gannon, have resigned since the incident. The defence team has said they will call up psychologists to testify about “slips and capture” errors – the theory that errors such as mistaking a gun for a Taser can happen in high-stress situations – that they believe led to the shooting.

Mr Wright’s death came amid already heightened tensions in the area of Minneapolis during the trial of Derek Chauvin, the police officer later convicted of murdering George Floyd, an unarmed black man.

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Written by

Claire Gordon