The ex-Minnesota officer pleaded not guilty to the first and second-degree manslaughter charges. During her testimony, the 49-year-old apologized and claimed it was not her intention to hurt anybody during the deadly incident. She argued that she was “yelling ‘Taser, Taser, Taser,’ and nothing happened, and then he told me I shot him.”
Potter was arrested and hit with manslaughter charges shortly after her and the police chief resigned from the Brooklyn Center Police Department. Her arrest occurred after three nights of protests over the killing. The 26-year vet was training other officers when Daunte Wright was pulled over for expired registration on his car and an air freshener hanging from his rearview mirror.
Officers attempted to arrest him after discovering he had a warrant out for his arrest. After resisting and getting back into his car, Potter warned that she would tase him and shouted “Taser!” three times before firing her gun and killing him with a single shot to the chest.
Jurors deliberated for about 27 hours over the course of four days before reaching their verdict. The maximum penalty for first-degree manslaughter is 15 years in prison and/or a $30,000 fine. Due to Potter having a clean criminal history, Minnesota sentencing guidelines recommend a sentence between 6 and 8.5 years in prison.
However, the prosecution is seeking a more severe sentence. Prosecutors argued in October that Potter abused her position of authority and caused “greater-than-normal danger to the safety of other people.” If the judge sides with the prosecution, Potter will receive a longer sentence, but not more than the legal maximum.
Kim Potter will remain in custody until she is sentenced in February 2022.