After three-and-a-half days of deliberation, the jury has reached a decision in the case of Kim Potter, a white former Minneapolis-area police officer who shot and killed Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black motorist.
Potter was found guilty on both charges of manslaughter she was facing for mistakenly grabbing her gun instead of her Taser before pulling the trigger during an April 2021 traffic stop with Mr Wright. She had pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter charges against her.
The case was seen by many as a test of whether the justice system will hold police accused of excessive force accountable.
Mr Wright’s killing occurred in April while another white officer, former Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin, was on trial for the murder of George Floyd just miles away. The shooting set off another round of large-scale civil rights protests in the Twin Cities, after a summer of unrest in 2020.
Hennepin County Judge Regina Chu returns to court
Hennepin County Judge Regina Chu is back in court, so a decision is likely to be announced any moment.
Kim Potter found guilty on all charges
Former Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter has been found guilty on all charges, Hennepin County Judge Regina Chu announced on Thursday.
The veteran officer displayed little emotion as the verdict was read out, sitting in silence and making the motion of the cross as she listened.
Judge rejects Kim Potter’s request to avoid jail over Christmas
A Minnesota court has rejected Kim Potter’s request that she avoid being put in jail over the Christmas holiday, ahead of her sentencing hearing early next year.
The former Brooklyn Center police office had “never been in trouble in all her life” before the shooting, and is a devoted Catholic with roots in the community, her attorneys had argued after the verdict.
“It’s not necessary for the preservation of public safety. For those reasons, she should not be incarcerated whatsoever,” they said.
Hennepin County Judge Regina Chu, however, was unpersuaded.
“I cannot treat this case any differently from any other case,” she said.
Potter will now be held in prison without bail until she is sentenced. The charges against her carry maximum penalties of 15 and 10 years, respectively.
WATCH: Crowds react to verdict outside courthouse
Demonstrators outside the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis reacted in celebration when it was announced that former Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter was guilty on all charges for the manslaughter of Daunte Wright.
The 20-year-old’s death during a traffic stop came as the city was still reeling from the murder of George Floyd, another Black man, at the hands of police, and inspired large protests.
Why the Kim Potter conviction is the exception to the rule
Justice activists may be celebrating the conviction of former Minneapolis-area police officer Kim Potter, but the charges against her are quite uncommon.
It’s exceedingly rare for on-duty police officers to be convicted for killing someone.
As I wrote back when Derek Chauvin was convicted:
None of the officers who killed Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, Philando Castile, Stephon Clark, Sandra Bland, Breonna Taylor, and numerous other Black people who died in lesser-known police encounters have been convicted of any crimes, and many are never charged to begin with. People in Minneapolis are acutely aware of how rare such convictions are, and what that suggests about whose lives are valued most under the status quo.
“Now the conviction is not evidence of a working system,” said Ebony Chambers, a Black resident of North Minneapolis who volunteers to organize churches and barber shops around social justice issues. “A broken clock is right twice a day. The murder of George Floyd, Daunte Wright, Philando Castile, and many more is proof that the system needs to be completely overhauled.”
Derek Chauvin may have been found guilty of murder, but the people of Minneapolis say true justice is much bigger than one court decision
Kim Potter verdict: Ex-officer found guilty on both manslaughter charges over shooting of Daunte Wright
Kim Potter has been found guilty on both manslaughter charges over the shooting death of Black man Daunte Wright.
The Brooklyn Center police officer of 26 years was convicted of first-degree manslaughter and second-degree manslaughter in Hennepin County Courthouse on Thursday after she shot and killed the 20-year-old father-of-one during a traffic stop in Minnesota on 11 April.
She faces up to 25 years in prison on both charges and will be sentenced by the judge in February.
The Independent’s Rachel Sharp has all the details.
The Brooklyn Center police officer was found guilty of first-degree and second-degree manslaughter over the death of the 20-year-old Black man
‘Accountability is not justice,’ Minnesota Attorney General says after verdict
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said he approved of the verdict in the Kim Potter trial during remarks on Thursday, but that a guilty verdict isn’t the same as justice for Daunte Wright.
“We have a degree of accountability for Daunte’s death. Accountability is not justice. Justice is restoration,” Mr Ellison said. “Justice would be restoring Daunte to life and making the Wright family whole again. Justice is beyond the reach that we have in this life for Daunte but accountability is an important step, a critical, necessary step on the road to justice for us all.”
‘Change is coming,’ says Daunte Wright’s brother
Daunte Wright’s brother Damik was among the crowd outside of the Hennepin County courthouse in Minneapolis when the news broke that Kim Potter was found guilty on all counts.
“We’ve been fighting for a long time,” he told a crowd of supporters, speaking into a megaphone. “We’re happy with the verdict. We’re happy with the guilty-guilty. We’re not doing this for nobody but for my mom and my pops.”
He also added that he hoped the verdict was a sign of lasting change to policing and the criminal justice system.
“This is the start of a new life for everybody,” he said. “Not just for us, but for everybody here. Change is coming. We might not be able to see this now, but we’ll see it in the future.”
Daunte Wright family erupts in cheers as Kim Potter found guilty: ‘We’re happy with everything’
The family Daunte Wright has erupted in cheers after former police officer Kim Potter was found guilty of killing the young man, with his brother yelling: “Let that b**** rot in hell”.
The Independent’s Andrew Buncombe has more on the reaction to the high-profile verdict.
The family of Daunte Wright has erupted in cheers after former police officer Kim Potter was found guilty of killing the young man, with his brother yelling: “Let that b**** rot in hell”.
Read: Activists offer their take on Kim Potter verdict
Civil rights activists, prosecutors, and legislators were closely watching the Kim Potter trial in Minneapolis and beyond. Here’s what they had to say about the guilty verdict.