Minneapolis, MN – Former Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kimberly Potter made her initial court appearance in Hennepin County District Court on Thursday.
Potter, 48, was charged Wednesday with second-degree manslaughter in the April 11 officer-involved shooting death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright.
She was released from Hennepin County Jail on Wednesday evening after posting a $100,000 bond, FOX News reported.
It is unknown whether or not she returned home after her release, but at least two uniformed officers and a Champlin Police cruiser were stationed at her home during the night, according to FOX News.
The court advised the former officer during her initial appearance on Thursday that she is prohibited by state statute from possessing, using, and transporting any firearms or ammunition while her case is pending.
Her omnibus hearing is scheduled for May 17.
Wright’s family and their attorney, Benjamin Crump, held a press conference shortly before Potter’s court hearing.
Crump said Wright’s death is an example of “yet another tragic killing of an unarmed black man,” and that “marginalized minorities in America” need to have “their day in court.”
“So many of our children have been killed by the very people who are supposed to serve and protect them,” Crump declared. “It was over-policing. It was an extensive use of force…We have a propensity in America to over-police marginalized minorities, especially black men.”
“I don’t know what it is in the mentality of police officers that they want black people to submit to their whims,” he added.
He said there “is no justice” for the Wright family, “because justice would mean Daunte not being killed.”
“All this family is striving for is to get full accountability and to get equal justice,” Crump told reporters. “Nothing more, nothing less.”
The attorney said Wright’s mother, Katie Wright, has now unwillingly joined a “sorority” of mothers of “dead black boys who were killed unjustly by police.”
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter told MSNBC during an interview on Thursday that the second-degree manslaughter charge filed against Potter “wasn’t as satisfying as something heavier” might have been.
“Even if we accept that Officer Potter meant to tase him, we still have to ask ourselves the question, ‘Is shooting someone with 50,000 volts of electricity a reasonable escalation to a traffic stop that began over expired license tabs?’” Carter argued.
“So, either way, Daunte Wright is dead as a result of Officer Potter’s deliberate actions, so yes, a more weighty charge would be much more satisfying,” the mayor added. “We’ve already seen how difficult it is to hold an officer accountable for taking a black life.”
Potter faces up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine if she is convicted, the Twin Cities Pioneer Press reported.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) issued a press release on Monday identifying Officer Potter as the officer who discharged her firearm during the encounter with Wright on April 11.
Officer Potter was a 26-year department veteran at the time of the shooting.
She first became licensed as a Minnesota law enforcement officer in 1995, when she was 22 years old, the Star Tribune reported.
In addition to serving on the department’s negotiation team and being a member of the Law Enforcement Memorial Association, Officer Potter has 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 Star Tribune reported.
Brooklyn Center Police Department (BCPD) Chief Tim Gannon told reporters during a press conference on Monday that BCPD Officer Potter mistook her duty pistol for her Taser during the encounter with Wright, USA Today reported.
The department released bodycam footage from the traffic stop showing Officer Potter yelling, “Taser! Taser! Taser!” prior to firing her firearm.
The bullet hit Wright, who died from his wounds at the scene.
Officer Potter was working as a field training officer and was in the midst of training a new officer at the time of the shooting, Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association President Brian Peters told the Star Tribune.
She and Chief Gannon both resigned on Tuesday.
“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,” Officer Potter wrote in a resignation letter to city officials, according to ABC News.
Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott immediately called for Officer Potter to be fired in the wake of the officer-involved 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.
Elliott responded by firing him.
“Effective immediately our city manager has been relieved of his duties, and the deputy city manager will be assuming his duties moving forward,” Elliott tweeted late Monday afternoon. “I will continue to work my hardest to ensure good leadership at all levels of our city government.”
Boganey had served as city manager for Brooklyn Center since 2005, the Star Tribune reported.
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 Elliott, according to Bring Me The News.
Brooklyn Center City Council Member Kris Lawrence-Anderson said during a virtual workshop after the vote that she agreed with the motion to remove Boganey from his post because she was worried about what rioters would do to her or her property if she didn’t go along with it, the Star Tribune reported.
“He was doing a great job. I respect him dearly,” Lawrence-Anderson said of Boganey, adding that she just “didn’t want repercussions at a personal level.”
Wright, who was wanted for a weapons-related charge, was fatally shot after being pulled over on Sunday for “expired tabs,” Minnesota Governor Tim Walz said during a press conference on Monday afternoon.
The officer-involved shooting occurred just before 2 p.m. on April 11 near the intersection of Orchard Avenue and 63rd Avenue North, KSTP reported.
The Brooklyn Center Police Department (BCPD) said an officer stopped the vehicle due to a traffic violation and soon discovered the driver had a warrant out for his arrest.
According to court records, the warrant was issued in connection with an incident that took place in Minneapolis in June of 2020, the Associated Press reported.
Police in a statement of probable cause that Wright was allegedly waving a gun and fled from officers, resulting in a warrant being issued for his arrest.
Police released bodycam footage of the April 11 incident on Monday, which showed an officer trying to place Wright in handcuffs outside of his vehicle after telling him he had a warrant out for his arrest.
A moment later, the wanted fugitive suddenly began resisting arrest, the video showed.
He swiftly yanked his arm away and jumped back into the driver’s seat of the vehicle.
“Taser! Taser! Taser!” Officer Potter yelled as the initial officer struggled with the suspect.
Just then, a gunshot rang out.
“S—t!” the officer who fired the weapon said, just before the vehicle sped off. “I just shot him.”
Wright continued to drive the vehicle for several blocks before he collided with another motorist, KSTP reported.
BCPD officers and paramedics immediately rendered aid, but Wright died from his wounds at the scene.
Wright’s girlfriend, who was inside the vehicle at the time of the incident, was transported to North Memorial Health Hospital with non-life threatening injuries, KSTP reported.