NewsOne reports that a jury found Potter GUILTY of first-degree manslaughter and second-degree manslaughter charges for fatally shooting Wright during a traffic-stop-turned-arrest on April 11, 2021. Jurors deliberated over the course of four days and for nearly 27 hours.
For this guilty conviction, prosecutors had to prove she acted with recklessness or culpable negligence when she defied years of training and mixed up the weapons. The maximum sentence for first-degree manslaughter is 15 years; for second-degree, it’s 10 years.
This time there were no performative waterworks from Potter, she stood stone-faced as the verdict was read.
In closing arguments, prosecutors said that culpable negligence was a key point. CNN reports that Assistant Minnesota Attorney General Erin Eldridge told jurors that the case is “very simple,” it’s about the “reckless handling of a firearm” and “culpable negligence” by Potter. The prosecutor also cautioned the jury against buying into the defense’s argument that Wright is “to blame” for what happened to him on April 11.
“We’re here because of the defendant’s actions, not Daunte Wright,” she said noting that they would not be here if Potter “followed her training…paid attention…and considered the risk,” before shooting Wright.
The prosecutor said that Potter’s actions were unreasonable because a “reasonable person” knows “you don’t blindly pull your weapon, pull the trigger, without being aware of the risk.”
“An accident is still a crime,” said the prosecutor noting that it’s because the actions are reckless or culpably negligent.
Looks like the prosecutors used their common sense and listened.
The defense team for Potter of course countered that and said that the former cop was a “peaceful person” unlike Wright who “took it upon himself to flee” and “purposely” left the scene after he was shot when he tried to drive away.
“A mistake is not a crime,” said Defense attorney Earl Gray.
“I remember yelling ‘Taser! Taser! Taser!’ and nothing happened, and then he told me I shot him,” she said while wrinkling her nose and shaking her head–while not shedding a single tear. “I’m sorry it happened. I’m so sorry,” she added. “I didn’t want to hurt anybody.”
Reactions to the verdict are rolling in and people are rejoicing including civil rights attorneys Ben Crump Antonio Romanucci and Jeff Storms, who represent the family of Daunte Wright. They have released the following statement:
“The family of Daunte Wright is relieved that the justice system has provided some measure of accountability for the senseless death of their son, brother, father and friend. From the unnecessary and overreaching tragic traffic stop to the shooting that took his life, that day will remain a traumatic one for this family and yet another example for America of why we desperately need change in policing, training and protocols. If we are ever going to restore the confidence of Black and marginalized Americans in law enforcement, we need to have accountability and a commitment to listening and to creating meaningful change. We must now turn our attention to ensuring that Kim Potter receives the strongest and most just sentence possible. It is also imperative that we focus on the conduct of Brooklyn Center and pinpoint its systemic failures that contributed to Daunte’s unlawful death.”
See more reactions to Kim Potter’s guilty verdict below as they continue to roll in.