Police officer convicted of murdering black man after “Taser confusion” charge
A white Minnesota police officer who said he mistook his gun for a taser when she shot a black man after stopping his car has been convicted of manslaughter.
Kim Potter, 49, will spend Christmas in custody after being convicted of first and second degree manslaughter in the death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright.
His conviction Thursday brought tears to Mr. Wright’s parents and a jubilant celebration from supporters in a Minneapolis court who chanted “guilty, guilty, guilty.”
It was the second high-profile conviction of a police officer this year by a team led by Attorney General Keith Ellison, including some of the same lawyers who helped convict Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd in the same eight court. months earlier.
Mr Wright was killed as Chauvin’s trial unfolded, triggering a wave of angry protests where protesters demanding “Justice for Daunte” clashed with police in riot gear for several nights.
Outside court on Thursday, Mr Ellison said the verdict placed some responsibility on Potter but did not do justice.
“Justice would bring Daunte back to life and restore the Wright family,” he said.
“Justice is beyond the scope that we have in this life for Daunte. But accountability is an important step, a crucial and necessary step on the road to justice for all of us.”
Mr Wright’s mother, Katie Bryant, said: “Today we got the responsibility and that’s what we’ve been asking for from the start.”
Potter shot Mr. Wright at an April 11 traffic stop in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center as she and other police attempted to arrest him under a pending warrant on a possession charge weapons.
Jurors saw video of the shooting from police corps cameras and dashcams, showing Mr. Wright being pulled away while another officer attempted to handcuff him.
Potter, who had been in the force for 26 years, repeatedly said she would smack him, but instead shot him once in the chest with his gun, which was in his hand.
She told jurors that she was “sorry that this happened” and that the traffic stop “has become chaotic”.
Her lawyers argued that she should remain free on Christmas until she is sentenced, saying she is a devout Catholic and is not going to commit another crime.
However, Judge Regina Chu dismissed the request, saying she “cannot treat this case any differently from any other.”
Potter faces seven years in prison when she is sentenced on February 18.
Additional reporting by Associated Press