Former Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kim Potter was charged Wednesday with second-degree manslaughter in connection with the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright.
Potter, 48, was arrested Wednesday morning by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Charges were filed by the Washington County Attorney's Office, which is prosecuting the case.
Potter and former Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon resigned Tuesday morning of April 13 after Wright, 20, was shot and killed during a Sunday traffic stop. Gannon said that he believed Potter, a 26-year Brooklyn Center officer, had accidentally shot Wright after mistaking her service pistol for a taser.
“Certain occupations carry an immense responsibility and non more so than a sworn police officer,” said Imran Ali, Washington County assistant criminal division chief and director of the major crimes unit. “With that responsibility comes a great deal of discretion and accountability. We will vigorously prosecute this case and intend to prove that Officer Potter abrogated her responsibility to protect the public when she used her firearm rather than her taser. Her action caused the unlawful killing of Mr. Wright and she must be held accountable.”
“While we appreciate that the district attorney is pursuing justice for Daunte, no conviction can give the Wright family their loved one back,” said attorney Ben Crump and co-counsel Jeff Storms and Antonio Romanucci, who are now representing both Wright's family and the family of George Floyd. “This was no accident. This was an intentional, deliberate and unlawful use of force. Driving while black continues to result in a death sentence. 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.”
Before Potter and Gannon resigned, the Brooklyn Center City Council fired City Manager Curt Boganey, and the City Council recommended that Gannon and Potter to be fired.
Yesterday, Elliott said he planned to ask Gov. Tim Walz to appoint the state Attorney General Keith Ellison's Office to consider the case rather than Orput's office.
“This case needs to be appointed to the attorney general,” Elliott said
Tony Gruenig, commander of the department's patrol division, was appointed acting chief of the department following Gannon's resignation.
The mayor's office now retains ultimate control over the Police Department.
At a press conference in front of the Brooklyn Center Police Station, civil rights attorney, founder of the Racial Justice Network and former president of the Minneapolis Chapter of the NAACP Nekima Levy Armstrong said that Potter ought to face more severe charges such as second-degree murder in the case.
“As a civil rights attorney I have significant concerns about the low level charges that are being brought against Kimberly Potter in this case,” she said. “Kimberly Potter was a 26-year-veteran of the Brooklyn Center Police Department as well as a field training officer, which means that she should have known the difference between a taser and her firearm. She acted with a reckless disregard for the life of Daunte Wright and she needs to held accountable under the law. I would argue that prosecutors could even charge her with third-degree murder or second-degree murder.”
She said the case should be sent to Ellison's office or to a special prosecutor.
Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Minnesota Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said that these types of cases should not be considered by county prosecutors.
“This is a travesty, a tragedy on top of another tragedy. Killing Daunte Wright, meeting protesters with violence, and now bringing charges that do not meet what we believe to adequate,” he said. “The charges should be appropriate, and the charges that are brought forth against this officer is absolutely, unfortunately what we have been talking about. In this country, there is a white system, a system for white people and a system for black people, and that should not be the case.”
Hussein and Armstrong questioned why former Minneapolis Police Officer Mohamed Noor faced murder charges in the shooting death of Justine Damond but Potter was not facing murder charges in this case.
“What she did was murder, we demand murder charges,” Hussein said.