Cop Who Shot Daunte Wright Is Already Getting Charged With Manslaughter

Kim Potter will be facing second-degree manslaughter, something Derek Chauvin was also charged with.
April 14, 2021, 4:51pm
Officer Kim Potter.
Officer Kim Potter. (Photo by Bruce Bisping/Star Tribune via Getty Images)

The Minnesota cop who fatally shot Daunte Wright has been charged with second-degree manslaughter, according to local officials.

Kim Potter, who resigned from the Brooklyn Center Police Department in the wake of shooting the 20-year-old Black man, was arrested by agents with the state’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Wednesday, according to a press release from Washington County Attorney Pete Orput. Police have said that based on bodycam footage, it appears she mistook her firearm for a Taser, and shot Wright during a traffic stop. 

Advertisement

“Certain occupations carry an immense responsibility and none more so than a sworn police officer,” Imran Ali, Washington County assistant criminal division chief and director of the major crime unit, said in a statement Wednesday. “With that responsibility comes a great deal of discretion and accountability. We will 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.”

“Her action caused the unlawful killing of Mr. Wright and she must be held accountable,” he added. 

Potter was booked into the Hennepin County Jail.

Untitled design.jpg

The booking photo for Kim Potter released by the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office.

The second-degree manslaughter charge comes just three days after the fatal shooting, and will reportedly be lodged in Hennepin County, where ex-Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin is also currently on trial for charges of third-degree murder, second-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in the killing of George Floyd. Police have traditionally avoided criminal charges after killings in the line of duty. In Hennepin County, no one was charged in 42 police shootings between 2000 and 2016, a local TV station reported. 

Potter resigned from the police force on Tuesday, along with Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon. Her attorney, Earl Gray, did not immediately respond to VICE News’ request for comment. (Gray is also representing Thomas Lane, another ex-Minneapolis police officer charged in Floyd’s death.) 

Advertisement

The city manager of Brooklyn Center was fired on Monday, and the mayor, Mike Elliott, was put in charge of the city’s police department. 

Wright died of a gunshot wound to the chest after cops said they pulled him over for expired registration tags and learned he also had a warrant out for his arrest. Wright tried to get back in his vehicle. 

Before shooting him, Potter shouted “Taser,” according to body camera footage. She then said: “Holy shit, I just shot him.”

Brooklyn Center, a suburb of Minneapolis, erupted into protest following Wright’s death. Authorities arrested at least 79 people during demonstrations Tuesday night, according to KARE, a local NBC affiliate. 

Photos posted to Twitter on Wednesday by a New York Times reporter appeared to show that city workers have fortified Potter’s home with cement barriers and fencing.