Minneapolis, MN – A Hennepin County jury on Thursday found former Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kim Potter guilty of first-degree and second-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright.
Potter, 48, fatally shot Wright with her duty weapon on April 11 while trying to arrest him on a warrant when she mistook her gun for her Taser.
The judge immediately ordered Potter taken into custody.
Defense attorneys asked the judge to reconsider that decision and release Potter until sentencing because “she’s not going anywhere and she’s not going to commit a crime.”
The state strenuously objected to Potter’s release.
The judge ultimately upheld her ruling and ordered the former police officer taken into custody direct from the courtroom and held without bail.
Potter’s sentencing was scheduled for Feb. 18.
The 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Park police department could be sentenced to a maximum of 25 years in prison.
The jury, made up of six men and six women, deliberated for more than 26 hours before rendering its verdict.
“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,” she wrote in a letter to city officials, according to ABC News.
The incident occurred on April 11 when then-Officer Potter and a rookie officer she was training made a traffic stop on a vehicle driven by Wright for expired tabs and an air freshener illegally blocking the driver’s view.
Bodycam video of the incident showed that Wright resisted arrest and jumped back into his car as if to flee when officers told him he had a warrant and tried to arrest him.
The video released by the Brooklyn Center Police Department showed Officer Potter yelled, “Taser! Taser! Taser!” before she discharged her weapon at Wright.
The video showed the officer realized she had shot Wright when he told her so.
Wright died at the scene.
Bodycam video shown at trial demonstrated that fellow officers were concerned that Potter might try to harm herself in the immediate aftermath of the shooting.
Violent anti-police rioters torched and looted businesses in the Minneapolis area for a week after Wright was killed.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz had to declare a state of emergency in three Minnesota counties – Hennepin, Anoka, and Ramsey – and implemented a 7 p.m. curfew in those areas.
Hundreds of Minnesota National Guard troops were also deployed throughout the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area.
Walz and other state and local officials begged the community to protest without violence during a press conference on Monday afternoon, but their pleas and the curfew went unheeded by hundreds of rioters who converged outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department (BCPD) later that night, CBS News reported.
Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliot immediately called for Officer Potter to be fired in the wake of the shooting, Bring Me The News reported.
The city’s manager, Curt Boganey, pointed out that Officer Potter has rights and said the city couldn’t just terminate her employment.
“Employees are entitled to due process,” Boganey said.
Elliot responded by firing him.
His firing came shortly after the Brooklyn Center City Council voted 3-2 to pull “command authority” of the BCPD from the city manager and to place it under the control of Elliot, according to Bring Me The News.
Officer Potter was placed on “standard administrative leave” as is protocol for all officer-involved shootings but then immediately submitted her resignation.
Now-former Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon testified at Potter’s trial that he resigned the same day because he refused to fire her.
Potter first became licensed as a Minnesota law enforcement officer in 1995, when she was 22 years old, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
In addition to serving on the department’s negotiation team and being a member of the Law Enforcement Memorial Association, now-former Officer Potter also served as president of the local police union, according to the paper.
She is married to a former Fridley police officer and has two adult sons, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.