Kim Potter to testify in own defense in Daunte Wright killing

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Kim Potter to testify in own defense in Daunte Wright killing

Former Minnesota police officer Kim Potter is expected to testify Friday in her manslaughter trial in the shooting death of Daunte Wright.

Potter, 49, shot Wright, a 20-year-old black man, after he tried to flee cops seeking to arrest him on a weapons warrant in April in Brooklyn Center.

Body-cam footage shown to jurors in the case depicts the distraught officer, who has insisted she accidentally pulled her gun instead of her Taser that day.

“Oh my God!” Potter wailed as another cop tried to console her, according to the footage released by police. “Holy sh-t! I just shot him!”

Brooklyn Center police Sgt. Mychal Johnson has testified he was leaning into Wright’s car preparing to handcuff him when he heard Potter warn she would use her Taser to detain Wright, but she fired a single round as the injured man drove off.

Johnson testified he believed deadly force was justified since he could have been dragged by Wright’s vehicle had he stepped on the gas pedal.

Kim Potter's mug shot.
Kim Potter’s mug shot. The former cop has pleaded not guilty to first- and second-degree manslaughter.
Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office

Former Brooklyn Center police Chief Tim Gannon testified in Wright’s defense Thursday, saying he “saw no violation” of department policy during the deadly stop that set off demonstrations as former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was standing trial for killing George Floyd.

Gannon stepped down days after the shooting, while Potter, who has pleaded not guilty to first- and second-degree manslaughter, resigned the same day. The ex-cop faces up to 11 years in prison if convicted on both charges.

A defense witness, meanwhile, testified Thursday that Potter had the legal authority to use either weapon on Wright, saying it would have been a “dereliction of duty” to allow him to leave the scene, the Star Tribune reported.

A family photo of Wright with his son, Duante Jr.
A family photo of Wright with his son, Duante Jr.
AP

“The very nature of flight and resistance brings with it danger to people in the path,” use-of-force expert Stephen Ijames told jurors.

Potter’s attorneys have characterized the killing as accidental, but claim the officer was within her rights to protect Johnson, who was assisting in the traffic stop along with a third cop, CNN reported.

A professor from the University of South Carolina School of Law disagreed with that assertion Wednesday, saying Potter’s action were “excessive and inappropriate,” the network reported.

“The use of deadly force was not appropriate and the evidence suggests that a reasonable officer in Officer Potter’s position could not have believed it was proportional to the threat at the time,” professor Seth Stoughton told jurors.

With Post wires

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