A former US police officer who said she mistakenly fired her gun instead of her Taser in the fatal shooting of a man has been found guilty of manslaughter. Kimberly Potter was convicted over the death of 20-year-old motorist Daunte Wright during a traffic stop in April in Brooklyn Center, a suburb of Minneapolis.
Potter, 49, was found guilty of first-degree and second-degree manslaughter by the verdict of a jury. The former police officer was straight-faced as Judge Regina Chu read out the convictions. She had earlier shown emotion while giving testimony about the incident – during which she said she was deeply sorry for the killing.
Daunte Wright was pulled over as a result of an outstanding weapons charge and was trying to get back into his car when the incident happened earlier this year. Potter had said in her testimony that she was worried for the safety of herself and her colleague when she reached for what she thought was her taser.
Video footage played to the jurors showed she had her Glock pistol in her hand for five seconds before firing upon Daunte Wright.
Part of the prosecution’s case highlighted Potter’s 26 years of experience – which they said made her mistake of firing her gun instead of her Taser indefensible. The guilty verdict in Minneapolis means the jury decided Potter had used “such force and violence that death of or great bodily harm to any person was reasonably foreseeable”.
Following the conviction, Judge Chu said: “I am going to require that she be taken into custody and held without bail. I cannot treat this case any differently than any other case.”
Potter faces up to 15 years behind bars when she is sentenced.
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