Kim Potter to Testify Her Innocence in Daunte Wright Shooting Trial

The Minnesota cop on trial in the shooting of Daunte Wright is hoping to persuade jurors to acquit her of manslaughter charges as she takes to the stand on Friday.

The defense case for Kim Potter will be based around what she claims was a gun-Taser mixup and is likely to conclude after just two days, with jurors also expected to hear from an expert on how such fatal errors can take place.

The 49-year-old police officer is charged with first- and second-degree manslaughter after shooting Wright, who was pulled over on April 11 for having expired license plate tags and an air freshener dangling from his rear-view mirror. Body camera footage shows Potter shouting "I'll tase you!" and "Taser, Taser, Taser!" before firing once, after Wright pulled away from an attempted arrest in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center.

Despite Potter's claims of mistaking her live weapon for a taser, use-of-force expert Professor Seth Wayne Stoughton told the trial earlier this week that even using a taser in the situation was "not appropriate" given the low threat level. He added that "a reasonable officer in Officer Potter's position could not have believed it was proportional to the threat at the time".

The defense's use-of-force expert, former assistant police chief Stephen Ijames, who said he wrote the Taser policy for the International Association of Chiefs of Police, told the court that he disagreed with Stoughton, who testified that Potter was legally bound to arrest Wright and use force after discovering he had a warrant for an outstanding weapons violation.

Her chief at the time, Tim Gannon, who resigned days after the shooting, labeled Potter "a fine officer" and said he "saw no violation" of policy by her in the traffic stop during testimony on Thursday. Gannon maintains that he was forced out because he would not immediately fire Potter, who resigned the same day.

Under questioning from Potter attorney Earl Gray, Gannon testified that he viewed body-camera video immediately after the shooting and dashcam video recently, and when he had "all the data in front of me, I saw no violation".

"Violation of what?" Gray asked.

"Of policy, procedure or law," Gannon said.

The defense also called several character witnesses for Potter who testified she is a peaceful person. Former Brooklyn Center Officer Colleen Fricke testified about working alongside Potter, saying she saw her as a mentor and friend.

Judge Regina Chu ruled earlier this week that if Potter is found guilty of one or both counts, she would preside over a separate trial to determine if there were aggravating factors, allowing Chu to hand a much lengthier sentence than the state's guidelines suggest.