MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - The manslaughter trial of Kimberly Potter, the former Brooklyn Center police officer charged in the deadly shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright during a traffic stop, began on Tuesday, Nov. 30.
Potter, 49, is charged with first-degree and second-degree manslaughter in Wright’s death on April 11, 2021.
Daunte Wright shooting
Daunte Wright (Daunte Wright family)
Shortly before 2 p.m. on the 6300 block of Orchard Avenue, Brooklyn Center police officers stopped Wright’s vehicle for expired tabs and for the air freshener hanging from his rearview mirror, according to what he told his mother when he called her after being pulled over.
After learning he had a warrant for a gross misdemeanor, Officer Anthony Luckey and his field training officer, Kim Potter, returned to Wright's vehicle to arrest him. Wright obeyed Luckey's order to get out of the vehicle, but as the officer tried to handcuff him he pulled away and tried to get back into the car.
During the struggle, Potter fired her gun, hitting Wright, who then drove several blocks before crashing into another car. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Body camera footage showed the moments leading up to the deadly shooting. In the video, Potter can be heard yelling, "I'll tase ya," as she pointed her gun at Wright. She repeated, "I'll tase you" and yelled, "Taser, Taser," before firing a single shot. Then police chief Tim Gannon said he believed Potter mistook her gun for her Taser.
What is Kim Potter charged with?
Potter was initially charged with second-degree manslaughter in Wright’s death. Attorney General Keith Ellison, who took over prosecution of the case, added a second charge of first-degree manslaughter several months later.
How to watch the Kim Potter trial
Judge Chu has allowed cameras in the courtroom and for the Potter trial to be streamed live. The Potter trial will be streamed live, gavel to gavel, on fox9.com/live, the FOX 9 YouTube channel and the FOX 9 News App. Download the app for Android or Apple.
The Potter trial is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, Nov. 30 at 9 a.m. CT. at in Courtroom 1856 at the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis.
The trial will begin with jury selection, which is expected to take about a week. Opening statements are scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 8.
The Hennepin County Government Center will remain open to the public during the trial, although the parking ramp will be closed as will the skyway to and from the government center and the tunnel to the Minneapolis City Hall.
How was the Potter trial jury be selected?
Jury selection began on Tuesday, Nov. 30 and took four days.
Judge Chu has ordered the identities of the jurors to remain a secret for the duration of the trial, so they will only be referred to by a random, previously assigned number. At the conclusion of the trial, the judge will decide when the jurors’ identities can be made public.
The court asked potential jurors to fill out a 13-page questionnaire asking about their knowledge of the case, police connections, attitudes towards the legal system and their media habits. The answers were provided to the attorneys and the judge prior to the start of jury selection.
Prosecutors, defense attorneys and the judge questioned the prospective jurors over their questionnaire responses during jury selection. Over a dozen potential jurors were dismissed prior to jury selection, likely over their answers on the questionnaire.
During jury selection, prosecutors and Potter’s defense attorneys questioned each potential juror one at a time, separately from the others. The defense was allowed five peremptory challenges while the State was allowed three. Attorneys do not have to provide a reason for why they object the juror when using a peremptory challenge. Potential jurors can also be struck from the jury for cause, meaning there is a reason to believe the juror is unfit for a fair trial. There is no limit on the number of jurors who can be removed for cause.
The jury will be partially sequestered during the trial and fully sequestered during deliberation, although Judge Chu may order full sequestration at any time.
Who are the jurors?
Fourteen jurors were seated for the Potter trial--12 jurors and two alternates. The jury is made up of seven men and seven women. Three of the jurors are people of color while the rest are white.
The following jurors have been seated on the jury:
- Juror No. 2: White man in his 50s. Works as an editor in neurology dealing with medical evidence. Testified that he has an unfavorable view of "Blue Lives Matter." Has always wanted to serve on a jury.
- Juror No. 6: White woman in her 60s. Retired special education teacher. She lost one of her four children two years ago to breast cancer.
- Juror No. 7: White man, 29 years old. Overnight operations manager at Target and bass guitar player in a local alternative rock band. Took a firearms safety class when he was a teenager.
- Juror No. 11: Asian woman in her 40s. Works in downtown Minneapolis and said she was concerned about the unrest following the killing of George Floyd.
- Juror No. 17: White woman in her 20s. Has little prior knowledge about the case or legal system.
- Juror No. 19: Black woman in her 30s. Mother of two and a teacher. Owns a gun with a permit and a Taser for personal protection.
- Juror No. 21: White man in his 40s. Father with previous experience serving on a jury.
- Juror No. 22: White man in his 60s. Registered nurse for over 25 years, currently studying to be nurse practitioner. Gun owner. He also manages properties.
- Juror No. 26: Asian woman in her 20s. She is in school and has finals and job interviews coming up, but said she was willing to serve if selected.
- Juror No. 40: White man in his 40s. Participated in the police explorers program in high school, but ultimately decided not to pursue a career in law enforcement because he was afraid of having to fire a gun.
- Juror No. 48: White woman in her 40s. Mother of 2 school-age children. Former IT project manager. Grew up on a farm outside Minnesota.
- Juror No. 55: White man in his 50s. Field engineer in cybersecurity. Navy veteran. Gun owner. Enjoys partaking in Renaissance "steel weapons fighting."
- Juror No. 57: White woman in her 70s. Mother with children in their 40s. She has served on two prior juries.
- Juror No. 58: White man in his 30s. Father of young child. Lives in Eden Prairie. He has a close friend who is a St. Paul police officer.
Who is allowed in the courtroom?
The following people are allowed in the courtroom during the trial:
- Trial Judge Regina Chu
- Kim Potter, the defendant
- Potter’s defense attorney Earl Gray and up to three additional defense lawyers or support staff
- Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank and up to three additional lawyers or support staff for the State of Minnesota
- The jury
- 2 media representatives
- 3 Daunte Wright family members
- 3 Kim Potter family members
- 1 TV technician or producer
- 1 witness at a time in the courtroom
Who is Kim Potter?
Kim Potter, 49, was a 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center Police Department. She was training Officer Anthony Luckey when he stopped Wright on April 11 for expired tabs, according to the charges.
A Hennepin County Attorney’s Office report from August 2020 listed Potter as the head of the Brooklyn Center Police Union at that time. According to state records, she also served as a Minnesota Law Enforcement Memorial Association Honor Guard Leadership Team members as a casket lieutenant.
She resigned from the Brooklyn Center Police Department two days after fatally shooting Wright.
Who was Daunte Wright?
A photo of Daunte Wright, the 20-year-old who was shot and killed by police in Brooklyn Center April 11. (Dallas Wright)
Family and friends described Daunte Wright, 20, as a beloved son, grandson, brother and father.
He left behind a two-year-old son, Daunte Jr. and was by all accounts a doting young father. One of his older brothers, Dallas Wright, said at his funeral that his little brother was trying to better himself as a man and would have been an amazing father to his son as he grew up.
Those who knew Wright also described him as having some of the typical issues of other teenagers, but was an overall good kid. He attended three different high schools, including Edison High School in Minneapolis, where he was voted "class clown" as a freshman, the Associated Press reported. He played on his high school basketball teams and was a popular student.
Family also described him as funny, with a contagious laugh and a smile that was "worth a million dollars," his mom, Katie Wright, said.
Wright was pulled over for having expired tabs on his vehicle, but when police ran his name they learned he had a warrant out for his arrest for a gross misdemeanor weapons charge. Court records show Wright had a minor criminal record with past petty misdemeanor convictions for drug possession and disorderly conduct.
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