Former Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kimberly Potter was charged with second-degree manslaughter, Washington County Attorney Peter Orput announced Wednesday.
Potter, 48, was taken into custody by agents of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and taken to jail where she will await her first court appearance in the shooting death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright.
“Certain occupations carry an immense responsibility and none more so than a sworn police officer,” said Imran Ali, Washington County assistant criminal division chief and director of the Major Crime Unit. “With that responsibility comes a great deal of discretion and accountability. We will vigorously prosecute this case and intend to prove that Officer Potter abrogated her responsibility to protect the public when she used her firearm rather than her taser. Her action caused the unlawful killing of Mr. Wright and she must be held accountable. County Attorney Peter Orput and I met with the family, expressed our deepest sympathies and assured them we would spare no resources in seeking justice for Mr. Wright.”
According to the criminal complaint, at 1:53 p.m. Sunday, Brooklyn Center Police Officer Anthony Luckey and his field training officer, Potter, pulled over a white Buick at 63rd and Orchard Avenues North in Brooklyn Center. Officer Luckey checked Wright’s identification and determined he had a warrant for a gross misdemeanor weapons charge.
At 2:01:31, Officer Luckey and Potter approached the driver’s side of the car and asked Wright to get out and place his hands behind his back. Wright did so. Officer Luckey told him he was being arrested for his outstanding warrant, the complaint states.
Both Wright and Officer Luckey were standing just outside of the driver’s side door, which was open, and Potter was standing behind and to the right of the other officer. At 2:01:49, Wright pulled away from the officers and got back into the driver’s seat of his car, with Officer Luckey trying to maintain physical control of Wright, according to the criminal complaint.
At 2:01:55, Potter said she would tase Wright. She pulled her Glock 9mm handgun with her right hand and pointed it at Wright, saying again that she would tase him. At 2:02, Potter said “Taser, Taser, Taser,” and pulled the trigger on her handgun at 2:02:01, firing one round into the left side of the victim, the complaint states.
Wright immediately said, “ah, he shot me,” and the car sped away for a short distance before crashing into another vehicle and stopping. An ambulance was called and Wright was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the complaint.
After firing her gun, Potter said “Shit, I just shot him!”
A Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigator examined Potter’s duty belt and saw that the handgun is holstered on the right side of the belt and her Taser is on the left side. The grips or handles of both the gun and Taser face Potter’s rear. The Taser is yellow with a black grip. Also, the Taser is set in a straight-draw position, meaning Potter would have to use her left hand to pull the Taser out of its holster, according to the complaint.
On Monday, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office determined Wright died of a gunshot wound and the death was a homicide.
The Washington County Attorney’s Office will not be holding a news conference or make further statements at this time, but rather, will rely on the news release and the criminal complaint. ####