First-Degree Manslaughter Charge Added in Case Against Ex-Brooklyn Center Officer
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced Thursday that his office has added a first-degree manslaughter charge in the case against Kim Potter, the former Brooklyn Center officer who fatally shot Daunte Wright during an April traffic stop. The additional charge is on top of a second-degree manslaughter charge.
Ellison took over the case in May from Washington County Attorney Pete Orput.
In a statement, Ellison’s office said it pledged to conduct “a thorough review of the evidence and make an independent decision on the level of charges.”
“After conducting that review — which included consulting with an expert in police use of force — Attorney General Ellison confirmed that the original second-degree manslaughter charge is appropriate, but also concluded that an upgraded charge of first-degree manslaughter is warranted,” the statement read.
Ellison’s office accuses Potter, a 26-year veteran, of “recklessly handling a firearm” when she fatally shot Wright on April 11. That allows for the additional first-degree manslaughter charge, his office concluded.
Body camera video shows Wright struggling with police after telling him they’re going to arrest him. Potter pulls her service pistol and is heard yelling “Taser!” three times before she fires. She’s then heard saying “holy (expletive), I shot him.”
The Brooklyn Center police chief at the time, Tim Gannon, said he believed Potter mistook her gun for her Taser.
Potter’s trial is scheduled to begin on Nov. 30.