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Thursday, January 20, 2022

Officer’s lawyer: Dante Wright ’caused the whole incident’

by Amy Forlitti and Scott Bauer

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – A suburban Minneapolis police officer, who says she wanted to use her Taser instead of her gun when she shot and killed black motorist Dante Wright, made a “mistake of epic proportions” And he didn’t have a “licence to kill”. A prosecutor told jurors on Monday.

Prosecutor Erin Aldridge said during closing arguments at the Kim Potter murder trial that Wright’s death “could have been completely preventable. Totally avoidable.”

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

However, Potter’s attorney Earl Gray argued that Wright “caused the whole incident” because he tried to run away from police during a traffic stop.

“Deonte Wright unfortunately caused his death,” argued Gray.

The traffic stop “was chaotic” because the traffic stop, Gray said, accidentally grabbed his gun instead of his Taser. He said that Potter didn’t know he was holding his gun.

Once the arguments were over, the jury was ready to deliberate on the matter.

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 it happened” and that he doesn’t remember what he said or whatever happened after the shooting, with most of his memories of those moments “missing.”

Aldridge, in closing arguments, 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 deliberations,” she told the jurors.

Playing Potter’s body camera video frame by frame, Aldridge tried to cast doubt on Potter’s testimony by seeing a look of fear on another officer’s face, which was opened to the passenger-side door of the car. I was leaning in and trying to handcuff Wright. The defense argued that he was in danger of being dragged.

“Not playing the video at the right speed where it shows chaos, playing it as slow as possible … it’s a rabbit hole of the wrong direction,” Gray said.

As prosecutors do throughout the three-week trial, Aldridge insisted that the 26-year-old was a “highly trained” and “highly experienced” former Brooklyn Center police officer and added that he did it when he killed Wright. acted recklessly.

“He made a lot of bad choices, which led to his shooting and the murder of Dante Wright,” Aldridge said. “It was no small oops. It wasn’t putting the wrong date on the check. … It was a huge screw up. A blunder of epic proportions.”

Although there is a risk every time an officer makes a traffic stop, Potter did not justify using his gun on Wright after turning away from him and other officers during a traffic stop on April 11 because they found him an excellent Were trying to arrest the weapon. capture warrants, Aldridge said.

“Carrying a badge and a gun is not a license to murder,” she said.

Aldridge also downplayed the testimony of some other officers, who either described Potter as a good person or said they saw nothing wrong with his actions: “The defendant has found himself in trouble and his police The family has patted him on the back.”

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Potter was charged with first-degree and second-degree manslaughter in the April 11 murder of Wright, who was pulled over for an expired license plate tag and an air freshener hanging from his rearview mirror.

Potter, who was training another officer at the time, said she probably wouldn’t have pulled over 20-year-old 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 lethal force if she wanted to because of potential harm to another officer, then-Sgt. Mychal Johnson, if he had been dragged by Wright’s car.

While playing Potter’s body camera video frame by frame, Aldridge cast doubt on Potter’s claim that he saw “fear” on Johnson’s face. She explained that Potter was behind Luckey for most of the conversation and that Johnson did not appear in front of her body camera until he fired.

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.

Aldridge went on to elaborate on the elements for proving first-degree murder, including the requirement that a murder be a “voluntary act.” She said that the various actions Potter took—opening her holster, transferring a piece of paper with her right hand to her left, putting her hand on her gun as Wright’s car approached—were all voluntary and reflexive. were not.

Chu told the jurors that intent was not part of the charges against Potter and that the state did not have to prove that he tried to kill Wright.

The judge said that to prove 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, the state must prove that he acted negligently, meaning he intentionally took the chance of causing death or major bodily harm.

The case was heard mostly by a white jury. 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 writer Michael Tarm in Chicago contributed to this story.

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

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