As Deontay Wright was mortally wounded in the driver’s seat of his car, the police officer who had fired a single bullet into his chest collapsed on the side of the road, crying, explaining that he thought he had killed his Taser. is catching. “I’m about to go to jail,” she said, on video captured at the scene in April.
Jury members will soon decide the fate of the officer, Kimberly Potter, after hearing 33 witnesses over the past week and a half in a Minneapolis courtroom. Ms Potter faces charges of first-degree and second-degree murder, and will be jailed for several years if convicted of either. The closing debate is expected to take place on Monday.
Ms Potter, 49, who is white, resigned from the police force in the Brooklyn Center, a Minneapolis suburb, two days after the fatal shooting of Mr Wright, a 20-year-old black man who was driving to his car wash. ,
Here are the key moments from the test.
Ms. Potter testified that she was ‘sorry, it happened.’
Ms. Potter took the stand of a witness in her defense on the final day of her trial. She broke down several times, describing a “chaotic” scene during a traffic stop on April 11, saying there were significant holes in her memory.
“I’m sorry this happened,” Ms Potter testified through tears. “I didn’t want to hurt anyone.”
Ms Potter said she had little recollection of what happened in the moments after the shooting.
“I remember shouting ‘Tasar! Tasar! Tasar!’ Nothing else happened, and then he told me I shot him,” Ms. Potter told the jurors. In body camera footage, Mr Wright can be heard saying “Ah, he shot me”, before his car swung forward and crashed down the block.
During the cross-examination, a prosecutor asked Ms. Potter the reason for pulling her gun, asking whether Mr. Wright had threatened or punched an officer or whether Ms. Potter saw a gun in their car. Was. Each time, Ms. Potter replied with a “no.”
The prosecutor, Erin Aldridge, also displayed side-by-side photos of Ms. Potter’s taser, which is mostly yellow, and her handgun, a Glock that is completely black.
“These items look different, don’t they?” Ms. Aldridge asked.
“Yes,” replied Ms. Potter.
The prosecutor also asked Ms Potter if she knew him from her right to her left – she had held her gun to the right of her police belt and her Taser to the left.
Ms Potter testified that she believed she had never carried her Taser while on patrol, during the 19 years she had carried one on her belt, although she had pulled it in the past.
She also said that she probably wouldn’t have pulled over Mr Wright’s car if she hadn’t been training a rookie police officer who wanted to do so. That officer, Anthony Luckey, pulled over Mr Wright because Mr Wright had an air freshener hanging from the rearview mirror and the car’s registration had expired.
‘What have I done?’ In the video shown for the first time, Miss Potter collapses in tears
Since the shooting on April 11, the public had seen only a minute-long video of Ms. Potter threatening to scare Mr. Wright with his Taser and shouting “Taser! Taser! Taser!” Before she fired a single bullet in his chest.
But at trial, jurors saw new body camera and police dash camera videos that were played in public for the first time.
“I grabbed the wrong gun,” says Ms. Potter, using a slang, in a video that captured the moments immediately after the shooting. When two fellow officers try to console her, she falls to the ground crying.
At one point in the video, he suggests killing himself. Several minutes later, a fellow officer, Sgt. Mychal Johnson took a gun from her holster and secretly emptied it of ammunition before returning it, fearing that she might shoot herself.
Prosecutors played the videos several times in court, possibly trying to show jurors that Ms Potter believed, at the time, she had done something wrong, or even broke the law.
“What have I done?” He said many times. As the video was shown in court, Ms. Potter trembled and cried.
But there were parts of the video that helped in the rescue. When Ms Potter said she was going to jail, one of the two other officers at the shooting site, Sergeant Johnson, replied: “Kim, that guy was trying to get in the car with me.”
Whether this was true has become a major point of contention in the trial.
Prosecutors and Ms. Potter’s attorney agree that Ms. Potter did not mean to fire her gun, but prosecutors have argued that the mistake was so reckless that she should be imprisoned. Defense lawyers have said she was right to try to use her Taser to stop Mr Wright from escaping, but it would have been justified even if she intended to use her gun, as Sergeant Johnson had to There was a danger of being dragged.
Dante Wright’s mother cried on the stand
Mr. Wright’s mother, Katie Bryant, cried several times as he killed Mr. Wright just seconds before talking on the phone.
Mr Wright was on his way to the carwash with a woman he had recently seen when he was pulled over.
Ms Bryant said her son panicked when he called her during a traffic stop. He told her that things would be fine, but then the call ended abruptly. Authorities had found that a judge had issued a warrant for Mr Wright’s arrest after he missed a court date on charges of illegally possessing a gun and running away from police. When an officer tried to handcuff Mr Wright, he backed away and was back in the driver’s seat.
Understand the murder of Dante Wright
Ms Bryant said she tried hard to get her son back. Eventually, his partner, Alayna Albrecht-Payton, answered the video call and shouted that Mr. Wright had been shot. Ms. Albrecht-Payton turned the phone to the driver’s seat, and Ms. Bryant saw her son lying there.
Ms Bryant testified that she ran to the shooting scene at the Brooklyn Center and knew her son was dead when she saw his shoes glued to the white sheet.
“I wanted to comfort my baby, I wanted to hold her,” Ms. Bryant testified through tears. “I wanted to protect her because that’s what mothers do. We protect our kids and make sure they’re safe.”
The prosecution’s own police witnesses defended Ms. Potter, as did the former police chief.
A police officer testified that Ms. Potter was right to use her teaser on Mr. Wright. Another went on to say that if Ms. Potter had intended to use her gun, it would have been appropriate. And a third called Ms. Potter “a good cop” and suggested that it would be appropriate for Ms. Potter to shoot Mr. Wright.
All three officers worked for the Brooklyn Center Police Department, and reinforced all parts of Ms. Potter’s defense. All of them were also put on the stand by prosecutors.
Perhaps most important was the testimony of Sergeant Johnson, who, in response to questions from Ms Potter’s lawyers, said that if Mr Wright were still leaning towards the passenger, he was at risk of being seriously hurt or killed. on the side of the car. Sergeant Johnson testified that although Ms Potter had intended to use her Taser, she was justified, under Minnesota law, to use her gun to prevent grievous harm or death.
Tim Gannon, who was chief of the Brooklyn Center Police Department for five-and-a-half years after he was forced to resign in the wake of the shooting, testified that Ms. Potter was a good officer who didn’t break her department’s rules. When he killed Mr. Wright.
Mr Gannon, who was called by the defense, said that when he reviewed the video of the shooting, he saw “no violation – of policy, procedure or law.”
“There are certain things within the department that you are known for,” he said. “Are you handling your calls? Are you professional when you talk to people? Are you making a good police report? She was known for doing all those things.”
Two police experts clashed over whether it was okay to use a Taser or a gun in the situation.
For an expert hired by prosecutors, Ms. Potter had acted improperly when firing her gun, but she also would have been wrong if she had successfully used her Taser. For an expert testifying for the defense, using a Taser would have been in line with best policing practices, but it was also appropriate for Ms. Potter to fire her gun in the circumstances she was facing.
Prosecution expert, Seth Stoughton, a professor of law at the University of South Carolina and a former police officer, said Mr Wright did not pose a threat of firing from Ms Potter’s gun and that he had fired it in an inappropriate position. – A fellow officer in the front seat of a car and close to Mr. Wright’s passenger. Wright with a taser would have been too risky to be suitable, he said.
“It’s really dangerous to disable – the way a Taser can disable – someone who is in a position to move the vehicle,” Mr Stoughton said. “You may be creating an uncontrollable threat.”
When defense attorneys turned to question an expert, they called Steve Ijames, who had worked as a police officer in Missouri for nearly 42 years. He said that if Sergeant Johnson had been leaning into the car, it was appropriate for Ms Potter to fire her gun, and she would also have been right to use her Taser.
“If that car comes into drive, it’s going to go bad,” said Mr. Ijames. “The Taser is that unique device that, when designed and performed as intended, would have stopped it.”