The lawyers prosecuting Kimberly Potter, the former police officer who killed Daunte Wright, are planning to introduce evidence showing that Potter was trained in the proper use of a Taser.
As Potter, 49, and another Brooklyn Center officer tried to arrest Wright on a firearms warrant during a traffic stop April 11, he broke free and got back in his car.
Potter is heard on video shouting “Taser” but instead pulls her handgun and shoots Wright in the chest.
Potter is charged with first and second-degree manslaughter. The killing of the 20-year-old Black man led to a week of protests in the Minneapolis suburb that included violent clashes with police.
Prosecutors with the Minnesota Attorney General’s office wrote in a court document filed Friday that for at least five years, Potter carried her Taser on the same side of her duty belt as she did in April.
Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank writes that prosecutors are planning to introduce evidence of four incidents where Potter drew her Taser in the correct way, including two where she fired the weapon.
“These incidents are relevant to show Defendant’s proper application of her training regarding the use of a Taser and her knowledge of how to safely and properly draw her Taser,” wrote Frank, who also prosecuted former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd.
In May, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison’s office took over the case from Washington County Attorney Pete Orput, who initially charged Potter with second-degree manslaughter.
Racial justice activists say Potter should be charged with murder. On Sept. 2, prosecutors added a more serious charge of first-degree manslaughter. At the time, attorneys for Wright’s family said in a statement that “No reasonable officer could confuse their sidearm for a Taser. Kimberly Potter’s killing of Daunte Wright was not a mere accident.”
Potter has pleaded not guilty. Her trial is scheduled to start Nov. 30.
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