Jury Deliberations Begin in Trial of Ex-Minnesota Police Officer Who Killed Daunte Wright

© REUTERS / NICOLE NERIA poster of Daunte Wright is seen during a demonstration about the manslaughter trial of Kimberly Potter, a white former Minnesota police officer charged in the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright, a Black man, whose April death sparked protests, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S. December 8, 2021.
A poster of Daunte Wright is seen during a demonstration about the manslaughter trial of Kimberly Potter, a white former Minnesota police officer charged in the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright, a Black man, whose April death sparked protests, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S. December 8, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.12.2021
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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Jury deliberations began on Monday in the trial of former Minnesota police officer Kimberly Potter, who is facing manslaughter charges for killing black man Daunte Wright during a traffic stop in April of this year.
The jury will determine whether Potter is guilty of first or second-degree manslaughter for shooting and killing Wright after purportedly mistaking her handgun for her TASER device while attempting to arrest Wright on a warrant during a traffic stop.
The legal teams also delivered their closing arguments on Monday, during which the prosecution emphasized Potter’s guilt regardless if the shooting was an accident and she meant to use her TASER, and the defense focused on the perceived danger to Potter and fellow officers during the incident.
Potter and a trainee officer pulled Wright over on April 11, 2021 for expired registration tags and a rearview mirror violation. After making initial contact, the officers learned that Wright had an arrest warrant for a weapons violation and protective order against him, and subsequently went to arrest Wright with the assistance of their supervisor who arrived at the scene.
Potter shot and killed Wright after he resisted arrest and attempted to re-enter his vehicle. Potter, who can be heard on video of the incident yelling “TASER, TASER, TASER!” before firing the first shot, maintains that use of the handgun was an accident. The defense argued that Potter had legal authority to use lethal or non-lethal force given the fatal risk of fellow officers being dragged by Wright’s vehicle.
People hold signs of Daunte Wright during a demonstration on April 17, 2021 in Stillwater, Minnesota. People rallied in front of Washington County Attorney Pete Orputs home demanding murder charges be brought against former officer Kimberly Potter in the death of Daunte Wright. Protests and demonstrations continue around Minneapolis and near the Brooklyn Center following the fatal shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright by Brooklyn Center police officer Kimberly Potter. - Sputnik International, 1920, 08.12.2021
Opening Statements: Trial of Ex-Cop Kim Potter Who Killed Black Man Daunte Wright
First-degree manslaughter carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison, and second-degree manslaughter carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. The former requires Potter to have caused Wright’s death while committing a misdemeanor such as reckless handling of a firearm, whereas the latter requires only that Potter acted with culpable negligence during the incident.
Jury deliberations are expected to finish by Christmas Eve, but contingency plans have been made to resume deliberations after the holidays should it be necessary.
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