Officer charged with 2nd-degree manslaughter in Daunte Wright killing

Former Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter has been charged with second-degree manslaughter, a prosecutor said. Authorities say Potter shot and killed Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, in a Minneapolis suburb after a traffic stop. Someone convicted of this charge would face a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $20,000.

Posted: Apr 14, 2021 2:07 PM


A police officer who authorities say shot and killed a Black man in a Minneapolis suburb after a traffic stop has been arrested and charged with second-degree manslaughter in the case, authorities said Wednesday.

Brooklyn Center police Officer Kim Potter is charged in Sunday's shooting death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright, Washington County Attorney Pete Orput said.

Potter was arrested late Wednesday morning by agents with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, and will be booked into the Hennepin County Jail, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said.

In Minnesota, second-degree manslaughter applies when authorities allege a person causes someone's death by "culpable negligence whereby the person creates an unreasonable risk, and consciously takes chances of causing death or great bodily harm to another."

Someone convicted of this charge would face a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $20,000. CNN has sought comment from Potter's attorney, Earl Gray.

Wright's death Sunday in Brooklyn Center, which then-Police Chief Tim Gannon said appeared to be the result of Potter mistaking her gun for her Taser as Wright resisted arrest, has roiled a metropolitan area scarred by other police-involved deaths and reignited national conversations about policing and the use of force.

Developments in the investigation have unfolded daily, including the release of body camera footage and Gannon's statement that the shooting appeared accidental on Monday, and the resignations of Potter and Gannon on Tuesday.

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Protests, some violent, have taken place each night in and around Brooklyn Center. Wright's family had called for charges against the officer.

Demonstrations Tuesday began peacefully, but chaos erupted around the Brooklyn Center police station by evening. Officers used pepper spray and fired flash bombs at protesters, who hurled water bottles and other projectiles at officers in riot gear.

The unified law enforcement command in Brooklyn Center made "upwards of 60 arrests" Tuesday night, many of which were for "riot and other criminal behaviors," Chief of the Minnesota State Patrol Matt Langer said.

Though Potter has submitted a resignation letter, Mayor Mike Elliott said Tuesday he has not accepted it, adding "we're doing our internal process to make sure that we are being accountable to the steps that we need to take." Earlier, he told CBS he thought Potter should be fired.

Orput is the prosecutor in Washington County, near Hennepin County, where Brooklyn Center is. The case was given to Washington County prosecutors to avoid the appearance of conflict of interest in Hennepin County, officials have said.

Sunday's killing of Wright is at least the third high-profile death of a Black man during a police encounter in the Minneapolis area in the past five years, after the shooting of Philando Castile in Falcon Heights in 2016 and the death of George Floyd last year. Minneapolis police also were under scrutiny when an officer was convicted of third-degree murder and manslaughter for the 2017 fatal shooting of Justine Ruszczyk, a White woman.

The trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer accused of killing Floyd, is taking place just 10 miles from Brooklyn Center.

Gray, Potter's attorney, also is the attorney for Thomas Lane, one of four officers involved in Floyd's death, and one of the defense attorneys for Jeronimo Yanez, the former police officer who was found not guilty in Castile's death.

Protesters scale fence outside FBI office

In Tuesday's demonstrations, protesters were seen scaling a fence outside the FBI office, holding a banner reading, "Justice for Daunte Wright." Members of the National Guard were in Brooklyn Center, Minneapolis and St. Paul.

By the time the city's 10 p.m. curfew started, hundreds of protesters had dwindled to a few dozen. With officers and police vehicles forming a line across front yards and the street blocking the police precinct, those remaining draped themselves in blankets and lit a small garbage fire in the falling snow.

On the street where protesters were once shoulder to shoulder, the few remaining chanted: "Say his name: Daunte Wright," and "I smell bacon, fry the pig."

Speaking at a late-night news conference, Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson said there was recognition of the pain suffered in the community on Sunday night.

"The person (Kim Potter) is no longer a police officer, and they'll be held accountable for their actions," he said. "But we can't have people hurting our communities, we can't have people hurting the men and women who are paid to protect them."

Two families come together in tragedy

Floyd's family left the courthouse during Chauvin's trial Tuesday "because they thought it was important that they give comfort to Daunte Wright's mother" and family, attorney Ben Crump said at a news conference with the two families.

"We will stand in support with you. ... The world is traumatized, watching another African American man being slayed," said Philonise Floyd, brother of George Floyd. "I woke up in the morning with this on my mind. I don't want to see another victim."

The losses of both Wright and Floyd were acknowledged in Tuesday's protests. Demonstrators knelt for 9 minutes and 29 seconds, to symbolize the amount of time authorities say Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck.

And just as the Floyd family did last year, the Wright family is looking for more answers surrounding their loved one's death.

One of the family's attorneys, Jeffrey Storms, told CNN that Gannon's explanation -- that the shooting appeared to be an accident -- "is by no means proper or enough."

"There were a number of intentional events that led to (Daunte Wright) being dead, and we need to find out exactly why each one of those intentional events happened," Storms said Tuesday.

"Grabbing your sidearm that you've likely deployed thousands, if not tens of thousands, of times is an intentional act," Storms said. "A sidearm feels different than a Taser. It looks different than a Taser. (It) requires different pressure in order to deploy it."

Wright's father, Aubrey Wright, told ABC on Tuesday that he couldn't accept Gannon's explanation that Sunday's shooting was accidental.

"I can't accept that -- a mistake. That doesn't even sound right," he told ABC's "Good Morning America." He cited the officer's length of service -- authorities said she'd been with Brooklyn Center police for 26 years.

Wright's mother, Katie Wright, said she wanted to see the officer "held accountable for everything that she's taken from us."

"It should have never, ever escalated the way it did," Katie Wright told ABC.

What happened in traffic stop that ended Wright's life

Wright was with his girlfriend Sunday afternoon, driving to the house of his older brother, Damik Bryant.

Officers pulled him over in Brooklyn Center for an expired tag and learned he had an outstanding warrant, police said. It was not clear what the warrant was for.

Wright gave officers his name before calling his mother, Bryant said. His mother, Katie Wright, told reporters that Daunte Wright called her, and she heard a police officer ask him to put down his phone and get out of the car.

Daunte told her he'd explain why he was pulled over after he exited, she said. She eventually heard police ask him to hang up, and then scuffling, before the call ended, she said.

Body camera footage released Monday shows Wright standing outside his vehicle with his arms behind his back and an officer directly behind him, trying to handcuff him. An officer tells Wright "don't," before Wright twists away and gets back into the driver's seat of the car.

The officer whose camera footage was released is heard warning the man she's going to use her Taser on him, before repeatedly shouting, "Taser! Taser! Taser!"

Then, the officer is heard screaming, "Holy sh*t! I just shot him."

The car's door closes, and Wright drives away. The car crashed several blocks away, police said. Police and medical personnel attempted life-saving measures following the crash, but Wright died at the scene, Gannon said.

Gannon said the portion of body-worn camera footage released Monday led him to believe the shooting was accidental and that the officer's actions before the shooting were consistent with the department's training on Tasers.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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Reported Deaths: 13466
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Marion1003871748
Lake54020975
Allen40829679
St. Joseph35898552
Hamilton35735408
Elkhart28745442
Tippecanoe22432219
Vanderburgh22342397
Porter18871310
Johnson18028381
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Madison12725339
Vigo12482248
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Monroe11928170
Delaware10726187
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Hancock8325142
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Warrick7792155
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Grant7080174
Wayne7064199
Boone6722101
Morgan6596139
Dubois6162117
Marshall6083112
Cass5839105
Dearborn582178
Henry5767104
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Shelby493696
Lawrence4571120
Harrison436372
Gibson436292
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Whitley397439
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Steuben390057
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 1089357

Reported Deaths: 19528
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1265611406
Cuyahoga1129542134
Hamilton803281211
Montgomery517261015
Summit47483955
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Butler38487585
Stark32544909
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Clermont19844240
Delaware18582133
Licking16470212
Fairfield16284200
Trumbull16141468
Medina15341266
Greene15128244
Clark14062299
Wood13153189
Portage12930206
Allen11713232
Richland11414199
Miami10706220
Wayne8900214
Columbiana8859229
Muskingum8824133
Pickaway8589121
Marion8553136
Tuscarawas8500245
Erie7937155
Hancock6935128
Ashtabula6871172
Ross6871156
Geauga6724148
Scioto6431102
Belmont5960168
Union572948
Lawrence5583102
Jefferson5566151
Huron5453120
Darke5372126
Sandusky5369122
Seneca5305122
Washington5213109
Athens520458
Auglaize494586
Mercer481185
Shelby470193
Knox4506110
Madison438263
Putnam4297101
Fulton425969
Ashland425190
Defiance423997
Crawford3989107
Brown396657
Logan383076
Preble381098
Clinton373863
Ottawa368181
Highland356262
Williams342575
Champaign334658
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Jackson313752
Perry295750
Morrow286839
Fayette282950
Hardin271564
Henry270266
Coshocton265657
Holmes2621101
Van Wert243963
Adams239553
Pike238034
Gallia236449
Wyandot232055
Hocking216062
Carroll192148
Paulding173940
Meigs145240
Noble133737
Monroe132542
Harrison109237
Morgan108523
Vinton84215
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