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Officer Who Shot Daunte Wright Charged With Manslaughter

Brooklyn Center, MN – Former Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kim Potter will face a second-degree manslaughter charge in connection with the fatal officer-involved shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright.

Washington County Attorney Pete Orput announced the charge against Potter on Wednesday morning, the Twin Cities Pioneer Press reported.

Additional details about the charge will be released by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, according to Orput.

Potter faces up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine if she is convicted.

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, 48, 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.

Violent protesters rioting for justice torched and looted businesses in the Minneapolis area in the wake of the officer-involved shooting, resulting in Walz issuing a state of emergency in Ramsey, Anoka, Hennepin, and Dakota counties.

Walz also implemented a 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew in those areas on Sunday and Monday.

Hundreds of Minnesota National Guard troops were deployed throughout the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area to help quell violent uprisings.

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.

They clashed with police, throwing “bottles, fireworks, bricks and other projectiles at public safety officials,” throughout the night, CNN reported.

Officers deployed tear gas and fired less-lethal projectiles to push the mob away from police headquarters.

Multiple officers were injured during the mayhem, and an estimated 40 rioters were arrested, CBS News reported.

Dozens of businesses have been looted or burned since the officer-involved shooting occurred.

Operation Safety Net (OSN), a joint effort between multiple law enforcement agencies and the National Guard, has been out in force since the incident.

Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said there will be hundreds of law enforcement officers out on the streets in the Twin Cities metro area for the foreseeable future.

President Joe Biden also weighed in on the situation on Monday, calling the officer-involved shooting a “really tragic thing that happened,” ABC News reported.

“The question is: was it an accident? Was it intentional?” President Biden asked. “That remains to be determined by a full-blown investigation.”

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Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Avatar Written by Holly Matkin

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