Minnesota: Protests after man shot by police dies

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Minnesota ex-cop says she's 'so sorry' for shooting Daunte Wright
Author of the article:
Reuters
Reuters
Nathan Layne
Publishing date:
Dec 17, 2021 • 15 hours ago • 3 minute read •
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A poster of Daunte Wright is seen during a demonstration after the opening statements in the manslaughter trial of Kimberly Potter in Minneapolis December 8, 2021.
A poster of Daunte Wright is seen during a demonstration after the opening statements in the manslaughter trial of Kimberly Potter in Minneapolis December 8, 2021. Photo by Nicole Neri /REUTERS
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Kimberly Potter, the white former Minnesota police officer on trial for fatally shooting Black motorist Daunte Wright, broke down in tears on Friday as she testified to being deeply sorry for mistaking her handgun for her Taser during a traffic stop.
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Potter, 49, has pleaded not guilty to first- and second-degree manslaughter charges, which carry maximum sentences of 15 and 10 years respectively. Potter has said she thought she was drawing her Taser when she shot Wright in the chest with her Glock 9mm handgun on April 11.

“I’m sorry it happened. I’m so sorry,” Potter said as she sobbed and shook on the witness stand. “I didn’t want to hurt anybody.”

The defence rested its case and closing arguments were set for Monday.

Potter was a police officer in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center for 26 years prior to the shooting, which triggered several nights of protests, with critics calling it another example of police violence against Black Americans.

The incident occurred just a few miles north of where Derek Chauvin, a white former Minneapolis police officer, was at the same time standing trial in the case of George Floyd, a Black man whose 2020 death during an arrest set off racial justice protests in many U.S. cities. Chauvin was convicted of murder.
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Potter and another police officer she was training pulled Wright over because there was an air freshener hanging from his rearview mirror and his vehicle’s licence tabs were expired. They then learned of a warrant for his arrest on a misdemeanor weapons charge and sought to detain him, which Wright resisted.

Potter can be heard shouting, “Taser, Taser, Taser,” on her body-worn camera before firing into Wright’s vehicle after he broke free from a second officer and tried to drive away. A third officer, Sergeant Mychal Johnson, had entered through the passenger side and was trying to keep the car in park.

Under questioning from her lawyer, Potter said that it was the officer she was training who made the decision to pull Wright over, and that she likely would not have made the same call, given that drivers were generally having difficulty renewing their registrations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Potter said she saw Johnson struggling with Wright over the gear shift with “a look of fear on his face,” and that she feared for his safety.

“We were trying to keep him from driving away. It just went chaotic,” Potter said.

She testified that she did not remember saying “I’m going to prison,” an utterance caught on police video, and recalled little else until she was met by her husband later in the day.

The testimony underscored a core strategy of the defence. Throughout the trial, Potter’s attorneys have sought to portray the situation as dangerous for the officers, with Johnson at risk of being dragged down the street. They have argued that Potter justifiably used force even if she drew the wrong weapon.

Potter said she had a duty to find out whether the female passenger in Wright’s car was safe, given that the officers learned when making the stop that a woman had taken out a restraining order against him.
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Prosecutors have argued that Potter was a veteran and well-trained officer – including Taser-specific courses in the months before the incident – making her criminally culpable for the shooting. They called 25 witnesses, compared with eight for the defence, with many testifying about training and procedures.

Erin Eldridge, a state assistant attorney general, challenged Potter’s assertion that she shot Wright because she was concerned for Johnson’s safety, noting that Potter did not act like the shooting was justified in the immediate aftermath.

“After you shot Daunte Wright, you didn’t behave like someone who had just saved Sergeant Johnson’s life. Did you?” Eldridge asked during cross-examination.

“I was very distraught. I just shot somebody,” Potter responded.

“You didn’t run down the street and try to save Daunte Wright’s life, did you?” Eldridge asked.

“No,” Potter said through tears.

Neither of the manslaughter charges require prosecutors to prove that Potter intended to cause Wright’s death.

For first-degree manslaughter, prosecutors must show Potter killed Wright while recklessly handling a firearm. The second-degree charge requires that Potter be found to have killed Wright through “culpable negligence.”
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Jury suggests possible deadlock in trial of ex-Minnesota officer who killed Wright

Author of the article:
Reuters
Reuters
Nathan Layne
Publishing date:
Dec 21, 2021 • 10 hours ago • 2 minute read •
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A person demonstrates in support of Daunte Wright outside the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on December 21, 2021.
A person demonstrates in support of Daunte Wright outside the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on December 21, 2021. Photo by KEREM YUCEL /AFP via Getty Images
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The jury asked a question on Tuesday that suggested a possible deadlock in the trial of Kimberly Potter, the former Minnesota police officer who mistook her handgun for her Taser and fatally shot Black motorist Daunte Wright during a traffic stop.
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“If the jury cannot reach consensus, what is the guidance around how long and what steps should be taken?” the jury asked in its question, which was read in open court by Judge Regina Chu, who is presiding over the manslaughter trial.

Chu re-read an instruction encouraging the 12-member jury to discuss the case “with a view toward reaching an agreement” and told the panel to continue deliberations, which started on Monday afternoon and have so far lasted more than 13 hours.

“You should not hesitate to re-examine your views and change your opinion if you become convinced they are erroneous,” Chu told the six men and six women. “But you should not surrender your honest opinion simply because other jurors disagree or merely to reach a verdict.”
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The jury also asked for permission to remove the zip-ties securing Potter’s 9 mm handgun, the weapon she fired at Wright, so that they could handle it. Chu granted the request while reassuring the jury that it was not loaded.

Potter, 49, has pleaded not guilty to first- and second-degree manslaughter charges, which carry maximum sentences of 15 and 10 years, respectively. Potter said she thought she was drawing her Taser when she shot Wright in the chest with her gun on April 11.

In their closing arguments on Monday morning, prosecutors said Potter acted recklessly and with “culpable negligence” in drawing the wrong weapon, while the defense argued that Wright caused his own death by resisting arrest and attempting to flee, and that Potter was justified in using force.

Potter is white and the shooting of Wright triggered several nights of protests outside the police station in Brooklyn Center, with critics calling it another example of police brutality against Black Americans.

The incident occurred just a few miles north of where Derek Chauvin, a white former Minneapolis police officer, was at the same time standing trial in the case of George Floyd, a Black man whose 2020 death during an arrest set off racial justice protests in many U.S. cities. Chauvin was convicted of murder.
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spaminator

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Ex-Minnesota cop found guilty of manslaughter in shooting of Daunte Wright

Author of the article:
Reuters
Reuters
Nathan Layne
Publishing date:
Dec 23, 2021 • 10 hours ago • 3 minute read •
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Kimberly Potter, the white former Minnesota police officer who killed Black motorist Daunte Wright in April after claiming she mistook her handgun for her Taser, breaks down in tears as she testifies during her trial in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, U.S., December 17, 2021 in this image taken from court television footage.
Kimberly Potter, the white former Minnesota police officer who killed Black motorist Daunte Wright in April after claiming she mistook her handgun for her Taser, breaks down in tears as she testifies during her trial in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, U.S., December 17, 2021 in this image taken from court television footage. Photo by HANDOUT /VIA REUTERS
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A Minnesota jury on Thursday found former police officer Kimberly Potter guilty of manslaughter in the fatal shooting of Black motorist Daunte Wright during a traffic stop at which she mistakenly discharged her handgun instead of her Taser.
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A 12-member jury found Potter, 49, guilty of first degree and second degree manslaughter in the death of the 20-year-old Wright, who she killed in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center on April 11 with a bullet to the chest.

Potter, who broke down last week on the stand as she testified to her remorse for the shooting, showed little emotion as Judge Regina Chu read the verdict and polled the jury. Potter was taken away in handcuffs after Chu rejected her attorney’s plea for her to be allowed to spend Christmas with family.

“I am going to require that she be taken into custody and held without bail,” Chu said. “I cannot treat this case any differently than any other case.”

The shooting sparked multiple nights of intense demonstrators in Brooklyn Center. It happened just a few miles north of where Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, was at the same time standing trial for killing George Floyd, a Black man whose 2020 death during an arrest had set off protests in U.S. cities over racism and police brutality.
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Chauvin was convicted of murder. Both he and Potter are white.
A poster of Daunte Wright is seen during a demonstration after the opening statements in 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 after the opening statements in 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. Photo by NICOLE NERI /REUTERS

Caught on Potter’s body-worn camera, the basic facts of the incident were for the most part not in dispute. Both prosecutors and the defense attorneys agreed that Potter mistakenly drew the wrong weapon and never meant to kill Wright.

At issue was whether the jury would find her actions to be reckless in violation of the state’s manslaughter statutes, or chalk up the incident to a tragic mistake that did not warrant criminal liability.

Throughout the trial, prosecutors stressed Potter’s 26 years as a police officer, a level of experience they said made her mistake indefensible. They said she disregarded her training, which included Taser-specific courses in the months before the shooting, and took a conscious and unreasonable risk in using any weapon against the unarmed Wright.
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Potter’s attorneys sought to blame Wright for resisting arrest, which they argued had created a dangerous situation and justified her use of force. While acknowledging her mistake, they said her actions were not criminal because she thought she was using her Taser and was unaware she had drawn her handgun.

The defense also leaned heavily on Dr. Laurence Miller, a psychologist who testified about “action error,” or when a person takes one action while intending to do another. Miller said such mistakes were common and can be triggered by stress.

Potter’s attorneys also took a chance by putting her on the stand. Potter testified that she was deeply sorry for killing Wright and outlined an otherwise clean record as a police officer. She said she had never discharged her gun before.
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“Her remorse and regret for the incident is overwhelming,” Paul Engh, one of her attorneys, told the judge in arguing for her to be allowed out on bail until sentencing, which was set for Feb. 18. “She’s not a danger to the public whatsoever.”

To secure a conviction on the first degree manslaughter charge, prosecutors were required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Potter caused Wright’s death while committing the misdemeanor offense of recklessly using a firearm, according to Minnesota law.

For second degree manslaughter, the jury was required to find Potter was guilty of “culpable negligence,” meaning she created an “unreasonable risk and consciously” took a chance of causing Wright death or serious bodily harm.

The jury agreed to find Potter guilty on the second degree charge on Tuesday morning, and decided on the first degree charge on Thursday morning, Chu told the court.
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Ron in Regina

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Apr 9, 2008
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This is a shitty deal all around, & supercharged by the media:

“Kimberly Potter, the White former Minnesota police officer who killed Black motorist Daunte Wright in April after claiming….”

The Wright Family lost a Son & Father & Brother……& the Potter Family lost a Mother & Wife & Sister….& the City of Minneapolis may not (? Or maybe still?) have to pay out the pension for a 26yr veteran of their police force.

Nobody wins. Everyone loses. Just sad.
 
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spaminator

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Ex-Minnesota cop sentenced to 2 years in death of Daunte Wright
Author of the article:Reuters
Reuters
Nathan Layne
Publishing date:Feb 18, 2022 • 15 hours ago • 3 minute read • Join the conversation
Kimberly Potter, the white former Minnesota police officer who killed Black motorist Daunte Wright in April after claiming she mistook her handgun for her Taser, breaks down in tears as she testifies during her trial in Brooklyn Center, Min., Dec. 17, 2021 in this image taken from court television footage.
Kimberly Potter, the white former Minnesota police officer who killed Black motorist Daunte Wright in April after claiming she mistook her handgun for her Taser, breaks down in tears as she testifies during her trial in Brooklyn Center, Min., Dec. 17, 2021 in this image taken from court television footage. PHOTO BY POOL FOOTAGE /Handout via REUTERS
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A Minnesota judge on Friday sentenced former police officer Kimberly Potter to two years in the fatal shooting of Black motorist Daunte Wright during a traffic stop, a lighter sentence than the roughly seven years in prison sought by prosecutors.

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Potter, 49 — who mistook her handgun for her Taser in firing on Wright, 20, as he resisted officers who pulled him over in a Minneapolis suburb last April — was found guilty by a jury in December of first-degree and second-degree manslaughter.

“This is a cop who made a tragic mistake,” said Judge Regina Chu, who became emotional as she handed down the 24-month sentence, two-thirds of which is to be served in prison and the remaining third on supervised release.

Chu said Potter was required to make a split-second decision during a “chaotic and tense” encounter with Wright and that the evidence presented at trial justified the veteran policewoman’s intended use of a Taser to protect another officer at the scene.

But she said a sentence of probation, which Potter’s lawyers had argued for, was not enough to account for the loss of life.

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“In this case, a young man was killed because Officer Potter was reckless,” Chu said, calling the case one of the saddest in her career. “Rightfully, there should be some accountability.”

The shooting in Brooklyn Center triggered multiple nights of protests there. It occurred just a few miles north of where Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, was standing trial for killing George Floyd, a Black man whose 2020 death during an arrest helped set off demonstrations around the nation and the world over racism and killings by police.

In rendering her decision, the judge made a point of distinguishing Potter’s actions from those of Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes and was convicted of murder. Both former officers are white.

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Daunte Wright’s mother Katie Wright expressed anger that Chu was emotional in delivering the sentence but not during Wright’s victim-impact statement in court on Friday. She blasted the two-year punishment as too lenient and questioned the sincerity of Potter’s tearful testimony at trial.

“Kim Potter murdered my son, and he died April 11. Today the justice system murdered him all over again,” Wright said outside the courthouse. “White woman tears trumped justice.”

Prosecutors had sought a sentence of seven years and two months, in line with state guidelines for first-degree manslaughter. Under state law, defendants facing multiple charges for the same act are sentenced only for the most serious count.

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But Judge Chu appeared to side with the arguments for leniency put forward by Potter’s lawyers, who cited her lack of a prior criminal record and her complaint-free 26 years on the police force. One of her attorneys, Paul Engh, said on Friday that Wright had been an “aggressor” in resisting arrest.

Chu also said she believed that Potter, who broke down in giving brief remarks on Friday, had shown deep remorse.

“I am so sorry that I hurt you so badly,” Potter said in court on Friday in comments directed at Wright’s family. “My heart is broken and devastated for all of you.”

Potter has not appealed her conviction, and has not indicated she plans to appeal.

Potter and a second officer pulled Wright over because there was an air freshener illegally hanging from his mirror and his vehicle registration tab had expired. They then learned of a warrant for his arrest on a misdemeanour weapons charge and tried to detain him. Wright resisted, breaking free from the second officer.

Potter then shouted, “Taser, Taser, Taser!” and fired at Wright with her handgun, video from her body-worn camera showed. Potter testified that she feared for the life of a third officer who had entered the car through the passenger side.
 

spaminator

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$3.2M settlement reached in police killing of Daunte Wright
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Publishing date:Jun 22, 2022 • 17 hours ago • 2 minute read • Join the conversation
Demonstrators hold a banner in front of the FBI Minneapolis Division building as they march days after Daunte Wright, 20, was shot and killed by former Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kim Potter, in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, April 13, 2021.
Demonstrators hold a banner in front of the FBI Minneapolis Division building as they march days after Daunte Wright, 20, was shot and killed by former Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kim Potter, in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, April 13, 2021. PHOTO BY NICK PFOSI /REUTERS
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BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. — A suburban Minneapolis city has agreed to pay $3.2 million to the family of Daunte Wright, a Black man who was fatally shot by a police officer who said she confused her gun for her Taser.


The tentative settlement also includes changes in police policies and training involving traffic stops like the one that resulted in Wright’s death, according to a statement Tuesday night from attorneys representing Wright’s family.

Wright was shot once in the chest by Brooklyn Center Officer Kim Potter, who is white, after the 20-year-old was stopped for expired registration tags in April 2021. The former officer was subsequently convicted of first- and second-degree manslaughter and was sentenced to two years in prison.

Potter is heard on video yelling “Taser” several times just before she fires her pistol.

Wright’s family members “hope and believe the measures of change to policing, policies and training will create important improvements to the community in Daunte’s name,” said co-counsel Antonio M. Romanucci. “Nothing can bring him back, but the family hopes his legacy is a positive one and prevents any other family from enduring the type of grief they will live with for the rest of their lives.”


The shooting happened at a time of high tension in the area, with former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, standing trial just miles away for the killing of George Floyd, who was Black. Floyd’s May 2020 death prompted a reckoning over police brutality and discrimination involving people of color.

The fallout from Wright’s death led the Brooklyn Center City Council to pass a series of reforms, including the use of social workers and other trained professionals to respond to medical, mental health and social-needs calls that don’t require police.

The changes also prohibit police from making arrests for low-level offenses and require the city to use unarmed civilians to handle minor traffic violations.

The settlement is one of the largest involving police conduct Minnesota. Last year, the city of Minneapolis agreed to pay $27 million to Floyd’s family.

Minneapolis previously paid $20 million to the family of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, after she called 911 to report a suspected assault behind her home in July 2017 and was fatally shot by Mohamed Noor, one of the officers who responded to her call. Noor is Somali American and Damond was white.
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