Former Brooklyn Centre, Minnesota Police Department cop Kim Potter has been arrested and charged with second degree manslaughter for the shooting death of Daunte Wright, local authorities announced on Wednesday.
Potter resigned from the police force on Tuesday, with BCPD Chief Tim Gannon also resigning over the shooting incident.
Potter shot Wright during what police said was a routine traffic stop and according to bodycam footage cited by police, believed she had pulled out her Taser, and not her police-issued pistol, when she fatally wounded the young African American man on Sunday.
If convicted on the second degree manslaughter charge, the 26-year-veteran of the BCPD could face up to ten years in prison.
Potter, 48, joined the police force in 1995. She was reportedly acting as a field training officer on Sunday when she shot Wright. Her husband is a former police officer. She has two adult sons and was reportedly forced to flee her home this week after her address was leaked on social media.
Wright, 20, was a young father. He was unarmed at the time of his attempted arrest.
In the bodycam footage of Sunday's incident, Potter could be heard yelling "I'll tase you!" as a male officer says "Don't. Don't." as Wright breaks away from his grip and gets back into his vehicle, attempting to escape. Potter then pulls out her handgun, apparently believing it to be her taser, and yells "Taser! Taser! Taser!" shooting Wright at point blank range as he sits in his vehicle. The vehicle speeds away, after which she yells "Oh s***! I just shot him." Wright's vehicle traveled several blocks before crashing into another vehicle. Wright was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident by paramedics. A woman in the car with him, believed to be his girlfriend, received non-life-threatening injuries.
Before the incident, the male officer told Wright he was being arrested for an outstanding warrant. It later emerged that the young man had a warrant against him for fleeing law enforcement and carrying a gun without a permit during an encounter with Minneapolis police in June 2020. His mother said he was pulled over over air fresheners hanging from his rearview mirror. Daunte's vehicle was also believed to have expired plates.
The protests have remained mostly peaceful, but some have degenerated into altercations with police, while opportunists took advantage of the chaos to loot local big box stores. Police in Minnesota arrested about 40 people for violations including breach of curfew and rioting on the second night of the protests.
Wright was killed nearly a year after the death of George Floyd, an African-American man who died hours after police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes. Floyd's death sparked national protests. Chauvin's trial is ongoing, and is taking place at a court in downtown Minneapolis.