By Clarissa Rios
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Jury selection began Tuesday here in the trial of Kimberly Potter, a former police officer who faces manslaughter charges after she allegedly mistook her gun for a Taser and fatally shot Daunte Wright on April 11, 2021.
The officer was trying to handcuff Wright when he allegedly broke free and jumped into the driver’s seat of his vehicle. Officer Potter called out a warning, suggesting she was using her Taser.
However, she ended up firing a single shot—that shot killed Wright. Officer Potter was arrested during a traffic stop several days after the shooting.
The shooting had taken place in the midst of the Derek Chauvin trial. What drew national attention toward this incident was that Officer Potter, who is white, shot and killed Wright, who is Black.
After his killing, thousands of demonstrators showed up to the Brooklyn Center Police Department. Some threw rocks and water bottles at the police officers stationed in front of the building.
In response, these police officers used foam bullets and tear gas against the demonstrators. Hundreds of arrests later occurred that week.
The body cam footage from the time of the shooting showed Officer Potter drawing her weapon and aiming it at Wright. As she was doing this she shouted, “I’ll tase you!. . .Taser Taser Taser” After having shot Wright, she then proceeded to shout, “I just shot him!”
According to a criminal complaint filed by a special agent at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension there is additional body cam footage. However, this footage has not been released publicly.
Special Agent Charles Phill stated Officer Potter had said “grabbed the wrong gun. . .I’m going to go to prison” shortly after the shooting occurred.
Currently, Officer Potter is facing two felony charges: first degree manslaughter and second degree manslaughter. If Officer Potter were to be convicted, it would be up to the judge to decide the exact sentence.
Twelve jurors need to be selected for the trial before lawyers can make opening statements and call witnesses. During day one of the jury selection process, the judge stated that opening statements in the trial will be started by Dec. 8, and they expect the trial to be finished prior to Christmas Eve.
During the jury selection process the judge also reminded the jurors not to do research on the case. She also explained that they are not to talk to the attorneys or parties while the court is in recess. Those who were involved in the case had been ordered not to talk to anyone and that “any violation of that rule could jeopardize this trial,” the judge stated.
The legal team for Daunte Wright’s family issued a statement about jury selection, stressing the unnecessary loss of his life.
The following was also included in the statement: “We must also not be fooled by the defense cries of an ‘innocent mistake.’ No reasonable officer can confuse their Taser for a gun, particularly a training officer who drew both of those weapons from her duty belt countless times.”