Death of Daunte Wright, an African-American youth, in Minneapolis: police officer found guilty of manslaughter
Sylvie Claire / December 24, 2021
A U.S. police officer who killed a young African-American driver during an April traffic stop in suburban Minneapolis was convicted Thursday of manslaughter.
Kim Potter, 49 years old, always affirmed to have believed to have drawn her electric Taser when she in reality drew her service weapon and shot Daunte Wright, 20 years old, who resisted to his arrest in Brooklyn Center, in the north of the United States. The jury found her guilty of manslaughter after three days of deliberations in a Minneapolis court, where this drama had reopened the wounds of the murder of George Floyd. The former policewoman, who pleaded not guilty, did not react Thursday when the verdict was announced. She faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison in total and is expected to be sentenced in February. Her remorse and regret for this incident is overwhelming, her attorney Paul Engh said after the verdict, asking the judge to release her on bail. She is, in no way, a danger to the public, he said.
On April 11, 2021, the officer was on patrol with a colleague who had decided to check out the driver of a white Buick for a minor traffic violation. After realizing that there was a warrant out for his arrest, they wanted to stop him. The officer described the situation that day as potentially dangerous. Daunte Wright, who was unarmed, did not allow himself to be handcuffed and started his car to flee. Kim Potter had then drawn her gun, later explaining that she thought she was grabbing her stun gun. We were struggling to keep him from running and then it became chaos.
I remember yelling 'Taser, Taser, Taser' and nothing happens. And he (his colleague, editor's note) told me that I had shot him, she told the bar on Friday, before bursting into tears. Her lawyer pleaded human error and the effect of stress because she was trying to protect her colleague. But for the prosecutor, Erin Eldridge, Daunte Wright died because of the careless handling of a weapon and the negligence of an agent who had 26 years of experience. In a statement released to the U.S. media, the victim's family said Thursday they were relieved that accountability has been achieved for this senseless death.
The day Daunte Wright died will remain a trauma for her family and another example to America of why we desperately need to change police practices, her loved ones wrote.