Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kimberly Potter pictured in mug Wednesday
The white female police officer who shot dead Daunte Wright has been arrested over the black man’s killing as she faces being charged with second-degree manslaughter.
Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kimberly Potter was taken into custody around 11:30am local time Wednesday by Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) agents in St. Paul.
The veteran cop, 48, was booked into the Hennepin County Jail just after midday on probable cause second-degree manslaughter, online jail records show.
Charges are expected to be filed by the Washington County Attorney’s Office later today.
Under Minnesota law, a second-degree-murder charge is filed when a person is accused of causing another person’s death through negligence that created an unreasonable risk, and consciously taking the chance of causing severe injury or death.
If convicted, Potter faces up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
However, sentencing guidelines for someone without a criminal record call for no more than four years behind bars.
Ben Crump, the attorney for Wright’s family, welcomed the news of Potter’s arrest but said ‘no conviction’ could bring back the 20-year-old after he was ‘executed’ by the cop.
Potter shot and killed 20-year-old Wright Sunday during a traffic stop just 10 miles from the courthouse where another white cop Derek Chauvin is currently being tried for the murder of black man George Floyd.
The veteran officer, who has worked for the department for 26 years but allegedly confused her gun for a taser, resigned from the force Tuesday as protests erupted in the city for a third night in a row demanding justice for Wright.
White female cop Kimberly Potter (above in mug) who shot dead Daunte Wright has been arrested over the black man’s killing as she faces being charged with second-degree manslaughter
Potter, a white veteran police officer, shot dead 20-year-old Daunte Wright (pictured with his son), during a traffic stop in Minneapolis on Sunday after allegedly confusing her gun for a taser
The BCA said the investigation remains active and ongoing and its agents will continue to work with the Washington County Attorney’s Office going forward.
Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott, who had called for Potter’s firing earlier this week, tweeted after news of her arrest broke.
‘Daunte Wright like many other black and brown members of our community should be alive and at home with his family today,’ he wrote.
Crump, who also represents the family of Floyd and helped them win a $27 million legal settlement against the city, said in a statement that ‘while we appreciate that the district attorney is pursuing justice for Daunte, no conviction can give the Wright family their loved one back.’
He doubled down on the doubts that Wright’s death was an accident calling the black man’s killing ‘intentional, deliberate, and unlawful.’
‘This was no accident. This was intentional, deliberate, and unlawful use of force. Driving while Black continues to result in a death sentence,’ said Crump.
‘A 26-year veteran of the force knows the difference between a taser and a firearm. Kim Potter executed Daunte for what amounts to no more than a minor traffic infraction and a misdemeanor warrant.
Crump compared Wright’s death to the death of Floyd, which took place on Memorial Day just miles from Sunday’s shooting, as well as the deaths of several other black people at the hands of law enforcement in America.
‘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 say him as expendable,’ he said.
‘It’s past time for meaningful change in our country. We will keep fighting for justice for Daunte, for his family, and for marginalized minorities.
‘And we will not stop until there is meaningful policing and justice reform and until we reach our goal of true equality.’
The family will hold a news conference tomorrow at 12 pm local time.
Potter was taken into custody around 11:30am local time Wednesday by Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) agents in St. Paul, the BCA said
Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott, who had called for Potter’s firing earlier this week, tweeted after news of her arrest broke
Potter (above) was taken into custody around 11:30am local time Wednesday by Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) agents in St. Paul
Meanwhile, the White House refused to weigh in on whether Potter should be charged Wednesday with Press Secretary Jen Psaki telling reporters: ‘I’m not going to weigh in on legal or law enforcement actions.
‘We’ll leave that to the court and law enforcement authorities on the ground.’
The case had been referred to Orput by Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman due to a rule adopted last year that deadly police shootings should be handled by either another county or the state Attorney General’s Office in order to prevent conflict of interest.
Potter is being represented by attorney Earl Gray – who also represents Thomas Lane, one of the three other cops charged over Floyd’s death whose trial will begin in August.
Gray also worked on the legal team for Jeronimo Yanez, the former cop who was charged over the shooting death of black man Philando Castile during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, in 2016.
Yanez was found not guilty of second-degree manslaughter and two counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm by a jury in 2017.
Potter was placed on administrative leave immediately after Sunday’s shooting and calls mounted for her to be fired, including by Mayor Elliott.
She then resigned Tuesday, issuing a short resignation letter where she made no mention of the deadly shooting.
‘I have loved every minute of being a police officer and serving this community to the best of my ability, but I believe it is in the best interest of the community, the department and my fellow officers if I resign immediately,’ Potter said.
Protests erupted again Tuesday night near Brooklyn Center Police Station as people demand justice for Wright and his family
Activists raise their arms as they confront State troopers, National Guard members and other law enforcement officers following a march for Daunte Wright
A march for Daunte Wright, who was shot and killed by former Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kim Potter, in Brooklyn Center
Barriers and metal fencing were put up around the home of Officer Kimberly Potter Tuesday
Mayor Elliott said he had not accepted her resignation and was making sure ‘we are being accountable to the steps that we need to take’.
The married mother-of-two left her home in Minneapolis Monday with her 54-year-old husband Jeffrey and their sons Sam and Nick after her address was posted on social media.
Police guarded the property Tuesday night and fencing was erected around it as protesters took to the streets for a third night in outrage at the killing of another black man at the hands of law enforcement.
Police Chief Tim Gannon also resigned on Tuesday, one day after he said during a tense press conference that Wright’s death was the result of ‘accidental discharge’ after Potter mistook her taser for a gun.
‘This was an accidental discharge that resulted in a tragic death of Mr Wright,’ Gannon said.
‘As I watch the video and listen to the officer’s commands, it is my belief that the officer had the intention to deploy their taser, but instead shot Mr Wright with a single bullet.’
Officers are trained to always carry their handgun on their dominant side and taser on their weak side.
It is not yet clear if Potter had the two devices in the correct place when she drew her firearm.
The police chief’s departure is the latest shake-up of the department in the days following Wright’s death.
City Manager Curt Boganey, who was in charge of the police department, was fired Monday after he said he wanted due process to play out before passing judgment on the officer’s actions. Elliott now oversees the department.
Wright’s family have said they cannot accept Gannon’s theory that his death was an accident.
Police body cam footage of the fatal incident showed three officers approaching Daunte Wright’s car in Brooklyn Center on Sunday after he had been pulled over for the traffic stop
Potter could be heard shouting ‘Taser!’ several times in the moments before she fired her gun
Wright’s father Aubrey Wright told ABC’s Good Morning America Tuesday: ‘I cannot accept that. I lost my son, he’s never coming back. I can’t accept a mistake, that doesn’t even sound right.
‘This officer has been on the force for 26 years.’
Wright’s mother Katie Wright said she wanted to see Potter be ‘held accountable for everything that she’s taken from us.’
They called for charges to be brought against Potter.
Potter was training a rookie cop in the field Sunday afternoon when the fatal incident unfolded near N. 63rd and Orchard avenues in Brooklyn Center.
Police said Wright, who has a toddler son, was first pulled over by the officers for expired license plate tags when he was driving with his girlfriend.
After running his name, the officers learned there was an outstanding warrant out for Wright’s arrest, police said.
Authorities have not confirmed the nature of the warrant but court records show Wright was being sought after failing to appear in court last month on misdemeanor charges that he fled from officers and possessed a gun without a permit during an encounter with Minneapolis police last June.
His aunt has said the warrant was for marijuana possession.
Wright’s mother Katie said her son called her from the vehicle after he was stopped by the officers to ask her for insurance information.
She said she then heard the officers telling Wright to get out of the car before she heard a struggle break out.
Wright, a 20-year-old with a toddler son, was shot and killed during a traffic stop Tuesday
‘Then the police officer asked him to hang up the phone,’ said Katie.
‘Three or four seconds went by. I tried calling back to back to back because I didn’t know what was going on.’
She said she later called back and his girlfriend, who was in the car with him, answered crying and screaming that he had been shot.
Body camera footage released Monday showed Potter and the two other officers at the scene approaching Wright’s car after pulling him over.
The footage showed one officer trying to handcuff Wright as a second officer told him he was being arrested on a warrant.
Wright jumped back into his car in an apparent attempt to flee.
A struggle then broke out between the officers and Wright, who was still sitting inside his car.
‘I’ll Tase you! I’ll Tase you! Taser! Taser! Taser!’ Potter could be heard shouting in her bodycam video.
Instead, Potter fired her handgun at Wright.
Immediately after, Potter can be heard saying: ‘Holy sh*t. I shot him’.
Wright managed to drive several blocks before coming to a stop when he hit another car.
He was pronounced dead at the scene and his girlfriend sustained non-life-threatening injuries.
The Hennepin County medical examiner ruled Wright’s death as a homicide and said the cause was a gunshot wound to the chest.
Potter is a married mother of two, who was first licensed as a police officer in Minnesota in 1995 at age 22, according to state records obtained by the Star Tribune.
She has served on the city’s negotiation team, and was among the first to arrive at the scene of another officer-involved shooting, in August 2019.
In that case, Kobe Dimock-Heisler died after he allegedly rushed at officers with a knife in a home.
Daunte Wright’s parents Katie and Aubrey said they could not accept their son’s death was a mistake after police revealed Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kimberly Potter accidentally fired her gun instead of her taser
Katie Wright, the mother of Daunte Wright, speaks as other family and friends and family attorney Ben Crump, listen during a press conference at the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota on April 13
Potter instructed the two officers involved in the 2019 incident ‘to exit the residence, get into separate squad cars, turn off their body worn cameras, and to not talk to each other,’ according to an investigative report from the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, obtained by the paper.
Both officers’ actions were found to be justified and no charges were filed.
Potter has been a union president for her department’s officers, the paper reported, and was a longtime member of the Law Enforcement Memorial Association.
Potter lives with her husband Jeffrey, a 26-year police veteran who retired from the Fridley Police Department in 2017 and now works as a corporate investigator at Allina Health.
Potter had an annual salary of $86,190, according to public records from 2018.
Wright’s shooting death has fueled protests and unrest in the city that is already on edge because of the trial of Chauvin.
Chauvin is also charged with second-degree murder, as well as second-degree manslaughter and third-degree manslaughter over the death of Floyd, who died when the cop knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes.
Curfews were put in place for Brooklyn Center, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Crystal, Columbia Heights, New Hope and Maple Grove from 10pm local time Tuesday night, but many demonstrators still took to the streets.
Police used pepper spray and flash bombs to disperse the crowds of people who used umbrellas as shields.
At least 60 people were arrested at protests in Portland, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia and Chicago.