MINNEAPOLIS, MN – The former Minnesota police officer who was caught on her own bodycam fatally shooting Daunte Wright – a black man – during a traffic stop has been arrested in connection with his death and is expected to be officially changed later today by local prosecutors, according to reports.
Kim Potter, 48, a 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center Police Department, was placed under arrest at approximately 11:30 a.m. this morning, with Washington County Attorney Pete Orput announcing that she will be charged with second-degree manslaughter, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison if she is convicted.
Wright, 20, had been pulled over for a routine traffic stop on April 11 when police discovered that he had an arrest warrant on firearms charges; according to released bodycam footage, while he was being placed under arrest, Wright became combative, actively resisted arrest, and attempted to enter his vehicle to flee the scene.
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At this time, Officer Potter – who is white – is heard during the struggle saying “I’ll tase you, I’ll tase you” but the footage shows her drawing her firearm instead, which later Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon claimed she did accidently. Potter brandishes the firearm for over seven seconds on the video before yelling “Taser! Taser! Taser!” and firing a single shot point-blank into Wright’s chest.
As Wright, fatally wounded, flees the scene in his vehicle, Potter can be heard saying “Holy s**t! I just shot him!” Wright would go on to crash his vehicle several blocks away and was declared dead at the scene; the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office has declared the death a homicide.
Two days after the shooting – amid heated racial tensions in the community – Potter and Chief Tim Gannon both resigned from their positions, and Potter fled her home after her address was leaked on social media.
Attorneys Ben Crump, Jeff Storms and Anthony Romanucci, who are working for the Wright family, said that while they appreciate the District Attorney charging Potter with manslaughter, they appeared to allege that the ex-officer actually shot and killed Wright on purpose.
“A 26-year veteran of the force knows the difference between a taser and a firearm,” they said. “Kim Potter executed Daunte for what amounts to no more than a minor traffic infraction and a misdemeanor warrant. It’s past time for meaningful change in our country.”
Wright’s death has since resulted in protests around the country and the looting of at least 20 local Minnesota businesses.