Kim Potter, Officer Who Shot Daunte Wright, Could Face 10 Years in Prison for Manslaughter

Kim Potter, the police officer who fatally shot 20-year-old Daunte Wright on April 11 near Minneapolis, will be charged with second-degree manslaughter. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

Washington County Attorney Pete Orput told The New York Times on Wednesday that the complaint would be filed later on Wednesday.

Potter, 48, was with the Brooklyn Center Police Department for 26 years. She served as the police union's president in 2019 and had worked as field training officer.

The veteran officer, who had been placed on administrative leave, submitted her resignation 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 resigned immediately," she wrote.

Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon, who also resigned Tuesday, had previously said that he believed Potter meant to use her Taser instead of her gun during the arrest. Police officials called Wright's death the result of an "accidental discharge" of a gun.

Authorities said they pulled Wright over for a traffic violation related to expired registration tags. Officers then discovered that he had a warrant for his arrest and attempted to detain him before he lurched back into his car.

In graphic body camera footage released Monday, Potter can be seen pointing a handgun at Wright and shouting "Taser" several times. She then fired one round before he drove away.

"Holy s***, I just shot him," she can be heard shouting to two other officers.

Daunte Wright protest April 12, 2021
People gather before curfew holding pictures of Daunte Wright along with Black Lives Matter signs to protest his death by a police officer in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota on April 12, 2021. Protests broke out Tuesday night in Minneapolis despite a curfew implemented after a police officer fatally shot a young Black man when she appeared to confuse her handgun with her taser, fueling tensions in a city already on edge because of the George Floyd murder trial. Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

The fatal shooting occurred about 10 miles from the Minneapolis courtroom where former police officer Derek Chauvin is on trial in the death of George Floyd last year. Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.

The two families met for the first time Tuesday at a press conference outside the courthouse where Chauvin is being tried. Philonise Floyd, George Floyd's brother, said Tuesday that the two families need protesters around the nation to "stand up and be with us."

In what was their first public appearance, the family of Daunte Wright called for police accountability. Naisha Wright, Daunte's aunt, said Potter's resignation was "great" but she hoped to see more.

"Put her in jail, like they would do any one of us," she said. "They would put us into that jail cell. [Firing a Taser] would be no 'accident.' It would be murder."

Protests over Wright's death continued for a third night on Tuesday. Hundreds of demonstrators gathered Brooklyn Center police precinct, which was surrounded by fencing and members of the Minnesota National Guard. Officers used pepper spray and fired flash bombs to disperse protesters after ruling the gathering "unlawful." Water bottles and other objects were thrown at officers dressed in riot gear.

Ben Crump, the attorney for the Wright family, responded to the charges against Potter in a statement Wednesday.

"While we appreciate that the district attorney is pursuing justice for Daunte, no conviction can give the Wright family their loved one back," Crump said. "This was no accident. This was an intentional, deliberate, and unlawful use of force. Driving while Black continues to result in a death sentence. A 26-year veteran of the force knows the difference between a Taser and a firearm."

Update: This story has been updated to include a statement from attorney Ben Crump.