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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Jury in Kim Potter trial works quietly until second day

by Amy Forlitti and Scott Bauer

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A jury weighing in on the case of a suburban Minneapolis police officer who shot and killed black motorist Daunt Wright worked without any sign of progress during his second day of deliberations on Tuesday.

The court asked the jury no questions on Monday after they deliberated for nearly half a day following the closing arguments in the trial of former Brooklyn Center officer Kim Potter, who said she was on the right track. Wanted to use her Taser. ,

They are being seized during the deliberations.

During closing arguments, prosecutors accused Potter of a “mistake of epic proportions” in Wright’s death in an April 11 traffic stop – but said the mistake was no defense.

Potter’s attorneys counter that Wright, who was attempting to get away from officers as they sought to handcuff him for an excellent warrant on a weapons charge, “caused the whole incident.”

The potter, who is white, has been charged with first- and second-degree murder. If convicted of the most serious charge, Potter, 49, would face a sentence of about seven years under state guidelines, though prosecutors have said they will demand more.

The case came about a week and a half after a mostly white jury received testimony about the arrest, which went awry, setting off angry protests at the Brooklyn Center, such as the trial of Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd on a nearby Minneapolis shore. Was. Potter resigned two days after Wright’s death.

Prosecutor Erin Aldridge called Wright’s death “totally preventable.” completely avoidable. She urged the jury not to condone this as a mistake: “Accidents can still be crimes if they result from negligent or culpable negligence.”

“He drew a deadly weapon,” Aldridge said. “He aimed it. He pointed it at Don’t Wright’s chest, and he fired.

Potter’s attorney, Earl Gray, argued that Wright was to blame for trying to run away from the police. Potter accidentally grabbed his gun instead of his Taser because the traffic stop was “chaotic,” he said.

“Unfortunately, Dante Wright caused his death,” he said. He also argued that shooting Wright was not a crime.

“In the path of life, no one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes,” said Gray. “My God, mistake is not a crime. It is not in our freedom-loving country.”

Potter testified Friday that she “didn’t want to hurt anyone” and that she was “sorry, it happened.”

Aldridge said the matter was not about whether Potter was sorry.

“Of course he feels bad about what he did. … But it has no place in your discussions,” she said.

Potter also testified that he acted by seeing the “fear” on the face of another officer, the then-Sgt. Mychal Johnson, who was leaning into the passenger-side door of the car and tried to handcuff Wright. The defense has argued that Johnson was in danger of being dragged and that it would have been appropriate for Potter to use deadly force.

Aldridge said, “Sgt. Johnson clearly wasn’t afraid of being dragged down. He never said he was scared. He didn’t say that then, nor did he testify in court.”

Judge Regina Chu told jurors that intent was not part of the charges and that the state did not need to prove that Potter tried to kill Wright.

The judge said that for first-degree murder, prosecutors must prove that Potter caused Wright’s death while committing the crime of reckless operation of a firearm. means that he must prove that he has committed a conscious or intentional act when handling or using a firearm that poses a substantial or unreasonable risk that he was aware of and disregarded, and That he had put his safety at risk.

For second-degree murder, prosecutors must prove that he acted negligently, meaning he intentionally took the chance of death or major bodily harm.


Associated Press writer Kathleen Foodie in Chicago contributed to this story. Bauer reported from Madison, Wisconsin.


Get full coverage of AP’s Daunte Wright case: https://apnews.com/hub/death-of-daunte-wright

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