Daily Sabah (Turkey)
Ex-Minnesota officer faces manslaughter charge over killing of black man
FORMER police officer Kim Potter, who fatally shot a young black motorist during a traffic stop in Minnesota, provoking four days of demonstrations, was charged with manslaughter Wednesday.
Potter, who quit her job on the Brooklyn Center force two days after Daunte Wright’s death, was charged Wednesday with seconddegree manslaughter in what her chief said appeared to be a case of confusing her Taser with her handgun. Many protesters and Wright’s family members have rejected that, saying either that they don’t believe it or that the incident reflects bias in policing, with Wright stopped for an expired car registration and ending up dead.
DAUNTE WRIGHT, a 26-year veteran, was training another officer at the time of the stop. She was arrested Tuesday and later freed after posting a $100,000 bond. Wright’s death came as the broader Minneapolis area nervously awaits the outcome of the trial for Derek Chauvin, the first of four officers charged in George Floyd’s death.
Kim Potter, 48, and Police Chief Tim Gannon both resigned Tuesday, a day after the City Council voted to fire the city manager, who controls the police force. Acting City Manager Reggie Edwards said Wednesday that because Potter resigned, she is entitled to “all accrual and benefits that is due.” Mayor Mike Elliott has said that the city had been moving toward firing Potter when she submitted her resignation. Police say Wright was pulled over for expired tags on Sunday, but they sought to arrest him after discovering he had an outstanding warrant. The warrant was for his failure to appear in court on charges that he fled from officers and possessed a gun without a permit during an encounter with Minneapolis police in June.
Body camera video that Gannon released Monday shows Potter approaching Wright as he stands outside of his car as another officer is arresting him. As Wright struggles with police, Potter shouts, “I’ll Tase you! I’ll Tase you! Taser! Taser! Taser!” before firing a single shot from a handgun in her right hand.
The criminal complaint noted that Potter holstered her handgun on the right side and her Taser on the left. To remove the Taser – which is yellow and has a black grip – Potter would have to use her left hand, the complaint said.
Wright family attorney Ben Crump said the family appreciates the criminal case, but he again disputed that the shooting was accidental, arguing that an experienced officer knows the difference between a Taser and a handgun.
Brooklyn Center had a 10 p.m. curfew Wednesday, the fourth night in a row that the city has taken that action. Elliott, the mayor, urged people to protest without violence, saying “your voices have been heard.” But for the fourth straight night, demonstrators clashed with police stationed behind a chain-link fence protecting the city’s police station. Several hundred protesters filled the street in front of the station despite a mix of snow and rain, chanting “Say his name! Daunte Wright!”
Outside Potter’s home in Champlin, north of Brooklyn Center, concrete barricades and tall metal fencing had been set up and police cars were in the driveway. After Floyd’s death last year, protesters demonstrated several times at the home of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis officer now on trial in Floyd’s death.
Brooklyn Center, a suburb just north of Minneapolis, has seen its racial demographics shift dramatically in recent years. In 2000, more than 70% of the city was white. Today, a majority of residents are black, Asian or Hispanic.