Former Minnesota police officer Kimberly Potter was found guilty of first and second-degree manslaughter for the April shooting of Daunte Wright during a traffic stop in Hennepin County, Minn.
According to the New York Times, the jury deliberated for over 27 hours before reaching a verdict. Potter is facing up to 15 years for the first degree charge, and a maximum of 10 years for the second degree charge.
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.”
During her testimony, Potter broke down in tears several times while expressing remorse for the accidental shooting. The now former officer had mistakenly pulled her firearm rather than her taser while Wright struggled to get away from the police.
The prosecution, however, rejected the premise that the shooting was a mistake caused by a chaotic and dangerous situation.
“This was no oopsie, this not putting the wrong date on a check, this was not entering the wrong password, this was a colossal screw-up, a blunder of epic proportions, it was precisely the thing she was warned about for years, it was irreversible and it was fatal,” prosecutor Erin Eldridge said in closing arguments earlier this week.
In April, Wright family attorney Jeff Storms also scoffed at the idea that the shooting was an accident.
“An accident is knocking over a glass of milk,” said Storms. “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.”
Following the shooting, 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,” Potter wrote.