Friday , May 14 2021

Kim Potter appears in court on set in Minnesota

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BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. A former Brooklyn Center police officer charged with second-degree murder during the filming of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old black man, made his first appearance in court on Thursday.

Kim Potter briefly appeared on Zoom for a hearing. She sat in the office of her lawyer, Earl Gray, and spoke only to confirm her presence at the hearing. Her next court date is scheduled for May 17.

Potter, 48, who is white, shot Wright dead during a traffic jam on Sunday. At the time of the charge, prosecutors said Potter’s “responsible negligence” caused Wright to die and “created an unreasonable risk” when he shot him instead of using Tasser.

Footage from a body-wearing camera shows Potter pointing her gun at Wright as she shouts “Tasser” and the former city police chief described the incident as an “accidental discharge”.

In a press conference Thursday, Wright’s mother, Katie Wright, said she felt she would never get justice for her son. “Justice would bring our son home,” he said.

Wright said she wants accountability at the highest level.

“If this still happens, we will continue to bury our son,” he added.

Civil rights lawyer Ben Crump compared the case against Potter to that of Officer Mohamed Noor, a former Black Minneapolis police officer who fatally shot a white woman, Justine Ruszczyk Damond, in 2017.

Noor was convicted of third-degree murder and second-degree murder and sentenced to 12 years in prison. He testified that he shot Damon when he approached his team car in an alley. He said he heard a bang on the side of the driver of the team car and thought Damond was a threat.

Crump also criticized the police explanation for the shootings, holding printed photos of a Glock pistol and a Taser. Potter used excessive force in the posture and Wright should not have been seduced into a minor offense, such as a car registration that expired during the COVID-19 pandemic, Crump said.

“So it’s very difficult for this family to accept that this is an accident when you have a veteran who has been in the police for 26 years,” Crump said.

The Wright family would go to the funeral to see Dowd for the first time on Thursday, Krum said. Wright’s funeral will take place on April 22. The head of civil rights, the rev. Al Sharpton will issue the blessing.

Potter faces up to 10 years in prison and a $ 20,000 fine if convicted. He was arrested Wednesday and released on a $ 100,000 bond.

What we know: Former Officer Kim Potter Releases $ 100,000 Bond, Faces Second-degree Homicide Charges in Daunte Wright Death

“We will pursue this case vigorously and intend to prove that Officer Potter canceled his responsibility to protect the public when he used his weapon and not Tasser,” said Imran Ali, Washington’s assistant chief of staff. “Her actions led to Mr Wright’s assassination and he must be held accountable.”

The Washington County Attorney’s Office is handling the charges against Potter after County Attorney Hennepin referred the case after an agreement was reached between prosecutors in the Minneapolis area to refer such cases of police use of deadly violence.

Wright’s death sparked protests around Minneapolis, an already tense area, as Derek Chavvin’s trial over George Floyd’s death is in its third week.

Potter’s lawyer, Gray, also represents Thomas Lann, a former Minneapolis police officer who is accused of aiding and abetting a second-degree murder and homicide in Floyd’s death. Gray did not respond to a request for comment by TODAY on Thursday.

Potter, a 26-year-old Brooklyn Center police force veteran, resigned on Tuesday amid calls for dismissal. Brooklyn Police Chief Tim Gannon has resigned and City Director Krt Boganei has been fired.

Daunte Wright Shooting: 24 Arrests as Protesters Demand Justice, Accountability on Fourth Night of Brooklyn

The Wright family described their son as a father who loved his son, Daude Jr., 2. He enjoyed sports and spent time with his family during the holidays.

Katie Wright said she was on the phone with her son after she was overthrown. Wright told his mother he was pulling for air fresheners in his mirror. Police later said the initial traffic stop was due to an expired registration.

Wright had a pending warrant for a weapons charge, which prompted officers to try to arrest him.

Wright said she told her son to give the phone to the officers to tell them the insurance information. He heard police tell Wright to get out of the vehicle. Then he heard a commotion and the phone disconnected. When he called back, the woman in the car with Wright responded via video call and showed Wright’s body in the driver’s seat after being shot.

Potter’s camera footage shows him standing behind Wright’s vehicle as two other officers approach the car. As the driver begins to arrest Wright, he stops. Potter then grabs Wright’s hand and Wright appears to get into the driver’s seat as a race ensues.

Potter pulls out her gun and shows it to Wright as she shouts “Tasser.” After he shoots Wright, Wright chases him away and Potter shouts “(Expressive), I shot him.”

“This could have been avoided”: The Minnesota Timberwolves are struggling with the shooting of Daunte Wright

Wright’s shooting is at least the 16th case of “gun confusion” in the United States since 2001 and the fourth person to die in such incidents, according to data compiled by and University of Colorado professor Paul Taylor, who watches such cases.

Wednesday night, a small crowd gathered outside Brooklyn Police Headquarters, demanding justice and accountability for a fourth night. A curfew was imposed again and police issued dispersal orders around 9 p.m.

Contribution: Elinor Aspegren

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