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Monday, January 24, 2022

Final argument set for ex-officer Kim Potter in Dante Wright’s death

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Closing arguments are set for Monday in the murder trial of a former Minnesota police officer who says he used his Taser instead of his gun when he shot and killed Deontay Wright. wanted to use it because she tried to move away from the traffic stop.

Kim Potter’s case will go to a mostly white jury after Judge Regina Chu gives her final instructions. The judge has already told the jurors that she will not intentionally invite them on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. If they do not reach a decision by then, they will return after leave.

The defense rested on Friday after Potter told jurors that she “didn’t want to hurt anyone,” saying during her sometimes tearful testimony that she shot her Taser at Wright after seeing fear on a fellow officer’s face. Screamed warnings about using.

Potter, 49, testified that he was “sorry that this happened.” She said she doesn’t remember what she said or what happened after the shoot, saying that a lot of her memories of those moments are “missing.”

Potter has been charged with first-degree and second-degree murder in the April 11 death of Wright, a 20-year-old black motorist, in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center for expiring license tags and hanging from an air freshener. was pulled. His rearview mirror.

Potter, who was training another officer at the time, said she probably wouldn’t have pulled Wright’s car if she had been alone that day. After that initial encounter, the traffic stop “just became chaotic,” she testified.

“I remember shouting, ‘Taser, Taser, Taser’, and nothing happened, and then he told me I shot him,” said the potter, who is white, through tears. Her body camera recorded Wright saying, “Ah, he shot me,” after the shoot.

Potter’s lawyers argued that she made a mistake, but would also be justified in using deadly force if she wanted to do so because Sgt. Mychal Johnson was in danger of being pulled over by Wright’s car.

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During the cross-examination, prosecutor Erin Aldridge noted that Potter told a defense expert that he did not know why he pulled his Taser. Citing the expert’s report, Aldridge said Potter told her: “I have no answer, my mind said grab the Taser.” Potter testified that he did not remember saying this.

Prosecutors have argued that Potter had extensive training in the use of tasers and the use of lethal force, including warnings of confusing the two weapons. Aldridge asked Potter to agree that his use-force training was a “major component” of being an officer. Potter testified that he was trained in when to use force and how much, and that there was a department policy that dictated what officers could or could not do.

Wright’s death sparked days of angry protests at the Brooklyn Center. It happened while another white officer, Derek Chauvin, was on trial in nearby Minneapolis for the murder of George Floyd.

Before Potter took the stand, a defense witness testified that police officers may accidentally draw their guns in high-stress positions instead of their Tasers as their implicit training wears off.

Lawrence Miller, a psychologist who teaches at Florida Atlantic University, noted that the more someone repeats the same task, the less they have to think about it and that there may be situations during a stressful situation in which one’s normal response is “hijacked”. can.

Some experts are skeptical of the theory. Geoffrey Alpert, a professor of criminology at the University of South Carolina who is not involved in Potter’s trial, has said there is no science behind it.

State sentencing guidelines call for just seven years in prison for first-degree murder and four years for second-degree murder, though prosecutors have said they plan to push for a longer sentence. are.

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Associated Press writers Tammy Weber in Fenton, Michigan, and Steve Karnovsky in Minneapolis contributed to this report.

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