Police Officer Kim Potter faces manslaughter charge

Brooklyn Center, Minnesota Police officer Kim Potter in 2007.

Bruce Bisping | Star Tribune via Getty Images

Kim Potter, the Minnesota police officer who fatally shot Daunte Wright, was arrested Wednesday morning on a charge of second-degree manslaughter for his killing, authorities said.

Potter’s arrest came a day after she resigned from the Brooklyn Center Police Department, and three days after her controversial shooting of Wright, a 20-year-old Black man

Wright’s death, which occurred as he fled a police traffic stop, heightened tensions that were already high in and around Minneapolis due to the ongoing murder trial of another former police officer, Derek Chauvin, who is charged in last year’s killing of George Floyd, who was also Black.

Body camera video from Potter during the incident Sunday suggests that she believed she had pulled out a Taser, instead of a pistol, when she pointed it at Wright and fired after he twisted away from another officer who was trying to handcuff him next to his SUV.

Wright had been pulled over by police in Brooklyn Center having expired license plates and an air freshener hanging from his rearview mirror.

Police then tried to arrest Wright after learning that he was wanted on an outstanding warrant for failing to appear in court in a criminal case, where he was charged with carrying a gun without a permit, as well as with fleeing from police in June.

Potter frantically and repeatedly yelled “Taser!” before shooting Wright as he sat in his vehicle’s driver seat after ducking away from the other cop.

Potter’s Taser is colored bright yellow, in contrast to her black Glock 9mm pistol.

Washington County, Minnesota, prosecutor Pete Orput announced that Potter, who served 26 years on the Brooklyn Center force, would be criminally charged for Wright’s death.

She was arrested Wednesday morning at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Authorities said she would be booked into the Hennepin County Jail, and that the Washington County prosecutor’s office would file charges later Wednesday.

Authorities said that the investigation of the shooting remains active.

Potter, who previously served as president of the Brooklyn Center police union, has retained a defense attorney, Earl Gray, according to the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association. Gray did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Gray is also representing former Minneapolis police officer Thomas Lane, who with two other ex-cops later is scheduled to be tried separately from Chauvin on lesser charges related to the death of Floyd, who like Wright was black.

Floyd’s killing by the white cop Chauvin ignited nationwide protests over police misconduct against minority suspects, and calls for major reform of policing practices.

Wright’s death has led to protests in Brooklyn Center and Minneapolis.

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