The former Minnesota police officer who fatally shot Daunte Wright during a traffic stop after she allegedly mistook her firearm for a Taser will testify at her trial, her defense attorneys indicated Tuesday.
Jury selection began Tuesday for the trial of Kimberly Potter, who faces first- and second-degree manslaughter charges in the deadly incident that occurred while she was serving on the Brooklyn Center police force.
Paul Engh, Potter’s attorney, told a potential juror that she would hear directly from the ex-officer about the traffic stop that ended in Wright’s death last April 11. Potter pulled over 20-year-old Wright, who is Black, that afternoon because his car had expired license plates. She quickly realized he had an outstanding warrant out for his arrest. Potter had also been training another Brooklyn Center police officer, Anthony Lackey, at the time.
When authorities moved to take Wright into custody, he pulled away and managed to get back into the driver’s seat of his vehicle. Footage from Potter’s bodycam then shows the officer yelling, “Taser, Taser!” before she shoots Wright with her firearm.
Wright was able to drive a short distance before crashing nearby. He was pronounced dead on the scene, while his girlfriend, who was in the passenger seat at the time, was injured.
The incident sparked days of demonstrations nationwide against police brutality and racial injustice, during which protesters clashed with authorities and resulted in multiple arrests.
Potter was initially charged with second-degree manslaughter in connection with the incident, but prosecutors added a count of first-degree manslaughter in September. Her defense team will likely argue that she did not intend to fatally wound Wright and contend instead she should face a manslaughter charge.
At least six days have been set aside for jury selection. The process took 11 days in the trial of Derek Chauvin.
Opening statements could begin as soon as Dec. 8.