Officer who shot Daunte Wright makes first court appearance

Former police officer faces second-degree manslaughter charge for apparently mistaking her gun for a Taser and shooting Wright.

This booking photo released by the Hennepin County, Minnesota, Sheriff shows Kim Potter, a former Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, police officer who is charged with second-degree manslaughter for killing 20-year-old Black motorist Daunte Wright [Hennepin County Sheriff via AP]

Kim Potter, the former Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, police officer who shot and killed Daunte Wright, made her first appearance at a Hennepin County court on Thursday.

Wearing a plaid shirt, Potter confirmed her presence during a brief online hearing and waved to the judge from a table in her lawyer’s office. Potter, 48, was not asked any questions about the shooting or her intended plea.

Hennepin County Judge Paul Scoggin set the next court date for May 17 and ordered Potter, who is out on a $100,000 bond, not to use firearms or explosives for the duration of her case.

In charging Potter with second-degree manslaughter, prosecutors will try to show she was “culpably negligent” and took an “unreasonable risk” in shooting Wright in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center on Sunday.

If convicted, Potter, who is white, faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

Katie Wright, mother of  Daunte Wright, speaks alongside her husband Aubrey, left and attorney Ben Crump, right, during a news conference at New Salem Missionary Baptist Church, Thursday, April 15, 2021, in Minneapolis [John Minchillo/AP Photo]

Civil rights lawyer Benjamin Crump held a news conference with Wright’s family before the hearing.

Wright’s mother, Katie Wright, told attendees, “The last few days, everybody has asked me what we want … everybody keeps saying justice, but unfortunately, there’s never going to be justice for us. The justice would bring our son home to us.”

The family had previously called for murder charges against Potter.

The family does “want accountability 100-percent accountability, like my sister said, the highest accountability, but even then, when that happens, if that even happens, we’re still going to bury our son,” she added.

Hundreds of demonstrators have gathered around the Brooklyn Center police headquarters since Sunday.

About two dozen people were arrested Wednesday on charges including curfew violations. The protests were smaller and more peaceful than on Tuesday night, when 72 people were arrested.

Wright’s death occurred about 20km (12 miles) away from the Hennepin County Government Center, where the trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd is taking place.

Chauvin, who is white, killed Floyd, who was Black, while he was in police custody on May 25, 2020. His death set off an international protest movement against racism and police brutality.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies