The officer who shot and killed Daunte Wright, a young Black man in Minneapolis, faces manslaughter charge
Minneapolis, April 15 2021: Kim Potter, the old police officer who shot dead Daunte Wright, a young black man in a Minneapolis suburb after allegedly mistaking her gun for a taser has been charged with manslaughter. She faces 10 years for second degree manslaughter if convicted. She is on $100,000 bail according to local media.
Minneapolis was rocked by fresh protests after Potter shot Wright and racial tensions continue to rise in the Midwestern US City where the trial of Derek Chauvin, police officer who killed George Floyd, a black man, is still underway.
About nine miles away, the judge presiding over the trial of Derek Chauvin denied a defense motion earlier Wednesday to acquit him of murder and manslaughter charges for the death of Floyd. Defense attorney Eric Nelson said prosecutors had failed to prove their case against the 45-year-old Chauvin beyond a reasonable doubt and he should be acquitted.
The video of Floyd’s May 25, 2020 arrest sparked protests against racial injustice and police brutality in the United States and around the world. A forensic pathologist called by the defense on Wednesday said Floyd died from cardiac arrest brought on by heart disease, illegal drug use and other factors. The testimony of David Fowler contradicted that of several medical experts put on the witness stand by the prosecution who said Floyd died of lack of oxygen while being held face-down on the ground.
The Wrights’ family lawyer Ben Crump said, “While we appreciate that the district attorney is pursuing justice for Daunte, no conviction can give the Wright family their loved one back, this was no accident. This was an intentional, deliberate, and unlawful use of force. We will keep fighting for justice for Daunte, for his family, and for all marginalized people of color.”
A fourth night of violent clashes continued on Wednesday evening as Riot police used tear gas to disperse demonstrators outside the fortified police station in Brooklyn Center, the suburb where Sunday’s shooting took place.
The families of Wright and Floyd demanded an end to police brutality and the killing of unarmed African Americans by white officers. Body camera footage showed officers pulling Wright out of his car after stopping him for a traffic violation and discovering he had an outstanding warrant. When officers attempt to handcuff Wright, he scuffles with them and gets back in the car.
The officer, Potter shouts, “Taser! Taser! Taser!” but a gunshot is then heard. “Holy shit, I shot him,” she says. The local county attorney said Potter had drawn her handgun with her right hand. According to Civil Rights activists, a white man would at most have been handed a ticket if such an incident occurred with him.
Imran Ali, Washington County assistant criminal division chief, vowed he would “vigorously prosecute this case and intend to prove that Officer Potter abrogated her responsibility to protect the public when she used her firearm rather than her Taser.”
Police vehicles continue to patrol the streets as protesters threaten to attack property and concrete blocks and fences were erected around Potter’s family home north of Brooklyn Center.
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