Former Brooklyn Center Officer Charged with 2nd-Degree Manslaughter
Former Brooklyn Center police officer Kimberly Potter has been charged with second-degree manslaughter, Washington County Attorney Peter Orput announced Wednesday. Potter is the officer who fatally shot 20-year-old Daunte Wright during a traffic stop Sunday in Brooklyn Center.
Kimberly Potter has been charged with second-degree manslaughter
Potter, 48, of Champlin, was taken into custody by agents of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and booked into the Hennepin County jail where she will await her first court appearance. A second-degree manslaughter charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison or a $20,000 fine or both.
“We will vigorously prosecute this case and intend to prove that officer Potter abrogated her responsibility to protect the public when she used her firearm rather than her Taser,” said Imran Ali, Washington County assistant criminal division chief, in a statement to CCX News. “Her action caused the unlawful killing of Mr. Wright and she must be held accountable.”
According to the criminal complaint, Potter was helping to train officer Anthony Luckey, when they pulled over Wright at 1:53 p.m. Sunday near 63rd and Orchard Avenues North in Brooklyn Center. Police have stated the traffic stop was for expired tabs. Officers checked Wright’s identification and determined he had a warrant for a gross misdemeanor weapons charge.
Officers Luckey and Potter approached the driver’s side and asked Wright to get out and place his hands behind his back. Officer Luckey told Wright he was being arrested for the outstanding warrant, the complaint states. During the course of the arrest, Wright pulled away from the officers and got back into the driver’s seat of his car. The complaint said officer Luckey tried to maintain physical control of Wright. At 2:02 p.m., Potter yelled “Taser, Taser, Taser,” but instead pulled the trigger on her Glock 9 mm handgun with her right hand, the complaint said.
Wright’s car sped away a short distance before crashing into another vehicle and stopping. A female passenger Wright was with suffered non-life threatening injuries. The occupants of the other vehicle were not hurt.
An ambulance was called and Wright was pronounced dead at the scene. After firing her gun, Potter could be heard saying “S**t, I just shot him.”
A Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigator examined Potter’s duty belt and saw that the handgun is holstered on the right side of the belt, with the Taser on the left side. The Taser is yellow with a black grip. The investigator, according to the complaint, documented that the Taser is set in a “straight-draw position,” meaning Potter would have to use her left hand to pull the Taser out of its holster.
Potter resigned on Tuesday, as did Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon.
Washington County is handling the prosecution, rather than Hennepin County, to avoid any potential conflict of interest.
“County Attorney Peter Orput and I met with the family, expressed our deepest sympathies and assured them we would spare no resources in seeking justice for Mr. Wright,” said Ali.