Race, crime, cops top juror questions as Kimberly Potter trial nears

Questionnaires for jurors similar to those given in the Derek Chauvin murder trial

A vigil and march in honor of Daunte Wright
People hold portraits of Daunte Wright and signs during a march on May 2 in Brooklyn Center, Minn. Potential jurors in the trial of former Brooklyn Center police officer Kimberly Potter will have to answer a lengthy questionnaire which includes questions designed to assess their media exposure to the case, social media habits and connections to members of law enforcement.
Kerem Yücel for MPR News

Jury selection in the trial of former Brooklyn Center police officer Kimberly Potter is two weeks away. The court released questionnaires Tuesday that the prospective jurors will be asked to complete. 

As in previous trials involving police officers charged with killing civilians, court officials want to know if jurors have strong feelings about law enforcement, the criminal justice system and the treatment of racial minorities by the courts.

Daunte Wright Officer
Kimberly Potter, a former Brooklyn Center, Minn., police officer.
Hennepin County Sheriff via AP, File

Potter, 49, is white and charged with manslaughter in the death of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man in April. Body camera footage of the incident showed that Potter yelled ‘taser’ three times while trying to apprehend Wright. However, Potter drew her gun and shot Wright to death.

Potential jurors will have to answer a lengthy questionnaire that includes questions designed to assess their media exposure to the case, social media habits and connections to members of law enforcement. Questions also ask if prospective jurors have engaged in protests and how they feel about activist groups like Black Lives Matter.

The questionnaire asks some of the same questions as the forms sent to members of the jury pool for the Chauvin trial. 

Potter’s defense is expected to argue that the 26-year veteran police officer accidentally grabbed her gun, instead of her taser as Wright attempted to get back into his vehicle.

The high-profile incident happened during the trial of Derek Chauvin, who was convicted of murdering George Floyd. It triggered several nights of protests near the Brooklyn Center Police Department.

National and international media members were already in Minneapolis for Chauvin’s trial when Wright was killed, swinging the world’s attention over to the Minneapolis suburb. 

Jury selection is scheduled to begin Nov. 30. Court officials believe the trial will begin Dec. 8 and they estimate the testimony and deliberations will last two weeks.

The trial judge has granted media requests for the proceedings to be broadcast and livestreamed.

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