Kimberly Potter, the former police officer who shot Dount Wright during a traffic stop, witnessed in a Minneapolis courtroom giving her first public account of the incident.
Ms. Potter, a white officer who spent 26 years at the Brooklyn Center Police Station, apparently accidentally pulled out a pistol instead of a stun gun when she fatally shot Mr. Wright, a 20-year-old black, in April. Mr. Wright broke free from another officer who tried to arrest him on an unfulfilled warrant for failing to appear in court on a previously charged firearm charge.
Mr. Wright called his mother when he was stopped and she revealed last week that he was nervous over the phone. The police stopped his car because there was an expired sticker and air freshener on the rearview mirror, which is a violation.
On footage of the body camera shooting, 49-year-old Mrs Potter was seen shouting that she was going to stun Mr. Wright with her stun gun and yelling, “Stun gun! Taser! Taser! “Just before shooting Mr. Wright in the chest with a service pistol. The video shows Miss Potter, distraught, telling her fellow officers that she “grabbed the wrong pistol” using a curse and then falls to the ground sobbing. A few days after the shooting, she resigned from the police.
Prosecutors do not dispute that the shooting was a mistake, but they argue that Ms. Potter acted so recklessly and dangerously that she should be sent to jail. They charged her with first and second degree manslaughter, either of which would likely have meant several years in prison if found guilty.
Here are the key points, far from her testimony:
During her testimony, Ms. Potter broke down for several moments. The first came as she described the moments when she shot Mr. Wright. “I remember shouting ‘Electrocutioner! Taser! Electrocutioner! and nothing happened, and then he told me that I shot him, ”she said. She started crying again when the prosecutor’s office showed a video taken by her body camera seconds before the shooting.
Ms Potter stated that during her long career as a police officer, she did not believe that she had ever fired a stun gun and that she did not receive any physical training on gun confusion, which is a key point in court.
During cross-examination by the prosecutor, Ms. Potter admitted that Mr. Wright did not threaten the police or beat him with his hands, and that she did not see any pistol in Mr. Wright’s car.
Miss Potter was shown alongside photographs of her pistol and stun gun. “These items look different, don’t they?” the prosecutor asked. “Yes,” Miss Potter replied.
Towards the end of her testimony, prosecutors insisted that Miss Potter had not tried to get Mr. Wright’s help after she shot him. “I’m really sorry that this happened,” she said, crying on the podium. “I am so sorry.”