Kim Potter, the former Brooklyn Center Police Department officer who was accused of killing shooting Daunte Wright after she yelled “taser,” will now face a more serious charge in addition to the second-degree manslaughter charge that she was previously charged with earlier this year.
Potter, 48, has been charged with first-degree manslaughter in connection with the incident. The Associated Press reports that the charge carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in jail. Second-degree manslaughter, on the other hand, has a maximum sentence of ten years.
After facing criticism from activists, some of whom want her charged with murder, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison pledged to review the case. Ellison, who was also the lead prosecutor in the case against former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, has declined.
“In taking over the prosecution of this case from the Washington County Attorney, Attorney General Ellison pledged to conduct a thorough review of the evidence and make an independent decision on the level of charges,” said a Thursday press release from the Minnesota Attorney General’s office. “After conducting that review — which included consulting with an expert in police use of force — Attorney General Ellison confirmed that the original second-degree manslaughter charge is appropriate, but also concluded that an upgraded charge of first-degree manslaughter is warranted.”
During a traffic check, Potter was one of the officers who approached Wright, 20. According to a video from the event, Potter shouted “taser” and then shot Wright amid a tussle. Wright was sucked inside the vehicle, which accelerated and collided with another vehicle. Wright was also accompanied by his girlfriend in the automobile.
Potter was detained in mid-April by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, approximately 24 hours after the city announced she had submitted her resignation letter. Potter stated in the letter that resigning was in the best interests of the community, the police department, and her coworkers
According to the Washington County Attorney’s Office, Potter drew her Glock 9mm handgun with her right hand and continued to point it at Wright, threatening to tase him. Within seconds, Potter repeated the word “taser” three times and fired a single round from her gun into Wright, who responded, “ah, he shot me.” Potter exclaimed after firing the gun once, “Sh*t, I just shot him.”
An investigator with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension checked Potter’s duty belt and observed that her weapon was holstered on the right side and her Taser on the left. According to the county attorney’s office, both the gun and Taser have grips or handles that face Potter’s backside. “The Taser is yellow in color and features a black grip. Additionally, the Taser is positioned in a straight-draw position, which means Potter would have to withdraw the Taser from its holster with her left hand, according to the complaint.”