The Dallas Morning News

Stiffer charges sought for ex-cop

They cite ’17 murder case of Black cop who killed white woman

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Naisha Wright, whose nephew Daunte Wright was killed by an officer in Brooklyn Center, Minn., held up images of an X26P Taser and a Glock 17 at a news conference Thursday. The town’s former police chief said Officer Kim Potter, who resigned, mistakenly fired her gun instead of a Taser. Daunte Wright’s family called for Potter to face more serious charges than second-degree manslaught­er.

BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. — Daunte Wright’s family members joined with community leaders Thursday in calling for more serious charges against the white former police officer who fatally shot him, comparing her case to the murder charge brought against a Black officer who killed a white woman in nearby Minneapoli­s.

Former Brooklyn Center Officer Kim Potter was charged with second-degree manslaught­er in Sunday’s shooting of Wright, a 20-yearold Black man, during a traffic stop. The former police chief in Brooklyn Center, a majority nonwhite suburb, said Potter mistakenly fired her handgun when she meant to use her Taser. Both the chief and Potter resigned Tuesday.

Potter — who was released on $100,000 bond hours after her arrest Wednesday — appeared alongside her attorney, Earl Gray, at her initial appearance Thursday over Zoom, saying very little. Gray kept his camera on himself for most of the hearing, swiveling it to show Potter only briefly. Her next court appearance was set for May 17.

Wright’s family members and protesters who have confronted police all week since his death say there’s no excuse for the shooting.

“Unfortunat­ely, there’s never going to be justice for us,” Wright’s mother, Katie Wright, said at a news conference Thursday. “Justice isn’t even a word to me. I do want accountabi­lity.”

Wright family attorney Ben Crump said “full accountabi­lity, to get equal justice” is all the family wants — “nothing more, nothing less.”

Crump and other advocates for Wright point to the 2017 case of Mohamed Noor. The Black former Minneapoli­s police officer fatally shot Justine Ruszczyk Damond, a white woman who was a dual citizen of the U.S. and Australia, in the alley behind her home after she called 911 to report what she thought was a woman being assaulted.

Noor was convicted of third-degree murder in addition to second-degree manslaught­er and sentenced to 12 1⁄2 years in prison. Potter’s charge carries a maximum 10year prison sentence.

Intent isn’t a necessary component of either charge. A key difference is that thirddegre­e murder requires someone to act with a “depraved mind,” a term that has been the subject of legal disputes, but includes an act eminently dangerous to others, performed without regard for human life.

Noor testified that he fired to protect his partner’s life after hearing a loud bang on the squad car and seeing a woman at his partner’s window raising her arm.

Many critics of the police believe the race of those involved in the Wright shooting played a role in which charges were brought.

Potter could have easily been charged with third-degree murder, which carries a 25-year maximum sentence, said Rachel Moran, a law professor at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn. But she noted that one difference between the Noor and Potter cases is that Potter will likely argue that using the gun was a mistake, while Noor never said he didn’t intend to use his weapon.

 ?? John Minchillo/the Associated Press ??
John Minchillo/the Associated Press

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