The white former Minnesota police officer who fatally shot 20-year-old Black man Daunte Wright has been charged with second-degree manslaughter.
The New York Times reports that Kimberly A. Potter, who resigned alongside the Brooklyn Center Police Department chief on Tuesday, was charged on Wednesday. If convicted, she faces a maximum of 10 years in prison. Potter, who was booked at Hennepin County Jail, was released after posting $100,000 bail. CNN reports that Potter is scheduled to have her first court appearance on Thursday via Zoom.
Since Wright’s death, there have been protests outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department every day and night.
In the immediate aftermath of the incident, which happened during a traffic stop, Potter claimed she intended to use her taser instead of her handgun. She fired her handgun at Wright, who then traveled several blocks in his car before hitting another vehicle. He died at the scene, and his family has called for justice to be served. Potter is a 26-year veteran of the force, but now-resigned police chief Tim Gannon called the shooting “an accidental discharge.”
“While we appreciate that the district attorney is pursuing justice for Daunte, no conviction can give the Wright family their loved one back,” said Ben Crump, the renowned civil rights attorney representing the family of Wright. “This was no accident. This was an intentional, deliberate, and unlawful use of force. Driving while Black continues to result in a death sentence. A 26-year veteran of the force knows the difference between a taser and a firearm.”
The fatal shooting of Wright comes at a particularly difficult time for the local community, with many awaiting the verdict in the trial of former officer Derek Chauvin, who is charged with second-degree murder after he was filmed kneeling on George Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes in 2020.
“Kim Potter executed Daunte for what amounts to no more than a minor traffic infraction and a misdemeanor warrant,” added Crump. “Daunte’s life, like George Floyd’s life, like Eric Garner’s, like Breonna Taylor’s, like David Smith’s meant something. But Kim Potter saw him as expendable. It’s past time for meaningful change in our country. We will keep fighting for justice for Daunte, for his family, and for all marginalized people of color. And we will not stop until there is meaningful policing and justice reform and until we reach our goal of true equality.”