Navigation
  •  
HFP

Officer who shot Daunte Wright charged with 2nd-degree manslaughter

Officer Kimberly A. Potter of the Brooklyn Center Police. (Bruce Bisping/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS)
April 14, 2021

Former police officer Kimberly Potter was arrested and charged with second-degree manslaughter Wednesday for the shooting of Daunte Wright during a traffic stop in Hennepin County, Minn. on Sunday.

Potter was arrested around 11:30 a.m. with charges filed later Wednesday, according to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. She is currently being held in the Hennepin County Jail.

The 26-year veteran officer could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted, the Star Tribune reported.  

Authorities said Wright was driving with an expired registration, and after being pulled over, officers discovered a warrant for his arrest. Wright resisted arrest and tried to force his way back into his car as police attempt to detain him.

During the scuffle, body camera footage revealed that Potter yelled “Taser” several times as she apparently reached for her non-deadly sidearm, but grabbed her handgun instead. After firing at Wright, Potter says, “Oh, sh-t, I just shot him.”

Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association officials said Potter was training another officer when the incident occurred, the New York Times reported.

The married mother of two was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation, but announced her resignation shortly thereafter.

“I have loved every minute of being a police officer and serving this community to the best of my ability, but I believe it is in the best interest of the community, the department, and my fellow officers if I resign immediately.”

Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon also resigned on Tuesday after the city commission voted to recommend his termination.

“This appears to me, from what I viewed, and the officer’s reaction in distress immediately after, that this was an accidental discharge that resulted in the tragic death of Mr. Wright,” Gannon said Monday, explaining that he thought Potter accidentally drew her gun instead of her Taser.

“An accident is knocking over a glass of milk,” said Jeff Storms, the Wright family’s attorney. “It’s not an accident to pull your gun out of your holster. It’s not an accident to point your gun. It’s not an accident to ignore the fact that what you’re holding doesn’t weigh the same amount as the Taser you’ve used in training hundreds of times.

“So don’t tell us it’s an accident,” Storms added, “because it undermines the tragic loss of life that this family has experienced.”

On Monday, the Hennepin County medical examiner said the victim “died of a gunshot wound of the chest and manner of death is homicide.”

The warrant for Wright’s arrest was issued after he failed to appear in court on two misdemeanor charges: carrying a pistol without a permit and running from officers.

The shooting also prompted three consecutive nights of violent demonstrations in Minnesota, leading to the arrests of 79 individuals.