Tags: dauntewright | police | shooting | criminal | charges

Officer Kim Potter Might Face Charges in Fatal Wright Shooting

a man holds a sign with a picture of daunte wright
Demonstrators face off with police on April 12, 2021 in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, over the death of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, who was shot and killed by Brooklyn Center police officer Kimberly Potter during a traffic stop. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 13 April 2021 07:29 PM

The police officer who accidentally shot Daunte Wright, 20, during a traffic stop near Minneapolis on Sunday might face criminal charges Wednesday, according to the Washington County District Attorney's Office.

Minnesota's Department of Public Safety identified Kim Potter, 48, a 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center Police Department, as the officer who fatally shot Wright, who was Black.

Potter and Police Chief Tim Gannon both tendered their resignation earlier Tuesday, but a decision to charge Potter in Wright's death could be made Wednesday, Fox News reported.

Potter reportedly wrote in a one-page resignation letter saying she "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."

Mayor Mike Elliott told reporters they both resigned after the city council passed a resolution to dismiss both Gannon and Potter.

The moves followed two nights of protests in the town of 30,000 people just miles from Minneapolis, a city already on edge with the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with murdering George Floyd last May.

As Elliott spoke, relatives of Wright and their lawyer had assembled down the road outside the Minneapolis courthouse where Chauvin is being tried to lament the loss of a man they say was kind and worked multiple jobs to support his young son.

"I'm hoping this will bring some calm to the community," Elliott said, adding he had yet to accept Potter's resignation, leaving a path to firing her. "We want to send a message to the community that we are taking this situation seriously."

Firing Potter could affect her pension and ability to work in law enforcement elsewhere.

Wright was shot Sunday after being pulled over for what police said was an expired car registration. Officers then discovered there was a warrant out for his arrest, and an officer accidentally drew her pistol instead of her Taser during a struggle with Wright, who re-entered his car, Gannon said Monday. The officer was later identified as Potter, who can be heard on police video shouting, "Holy sh**, I just shot him."

Given the importance of the investigation, Elliott said he would ask Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz to assign it to Keith Ellison, the state's attorney general. Ellison was also put in charge of the Chauvin case.

The Wright shooting is currently being overseen by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

Outside of the Minneapolis courthouse, family members recounted the events that led to Wright's death at a press conference with their attorney Ben Crump.

His mother, Katie Wright, said her son called her after he was pulled over Sunday and said he was being stopped because he had air fresheners hanging from the rear view mirror, which is illegal in the state.

After offering to mediate, the mother said she heard an officer asking a confused Wright to get out of the vehicle and then scuffling and an officer asking her son to hang up the phone. She said she kept calling him back, to no avail.

She said the girl in the car with her son eventually picked up the phone and, amid cries and screams, told her Daunte had been shot.

"She pointed the phone toward the driver's seat and my son was laying there, unresponsive," Katie Wright said as she wept. "That was the last time that I've seen my son."

Wright was killed just 10 miles from where Floyd, 46, lost his life while under arrest for allegedly passing a bogus $20 bill, unleashing a months-long nationwide upheaval of protests against racial injustice and police brutality.

Material from Reuters was used in this report.

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The police officer who accidentally shot Daunte Wright, 20, during a traffic stop near Minneapolis on Sunday might face criminal charges Wednesday, according to the Washington County District Attorney's Office.
dauntewright, police, shooting, criminal, charges
Tuesday, 13 April 2021 07:29 PM
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