Kim Potter trial: Police testify on Taser, use of force policies
MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - Prosecutors called more witnesses Tuesday in the trial of Kim Potter as they continue to try to poke holes in the former Brooklyn Center police officer’s claim that she mistook her gun for her Taser when she fatally shot 20-year-old Daunte Wright during a traffic stop last year.
Court is expected to resume at 9 a.m. CT on Wednesday. FOX 9 is streaming the Potter trial live, gavel to gavel, at fox9.com/live and on the FOX 9 YouTube channel and the FOX 9 News App.
READ NEXT: What to know about the Kim Potter trial
Kim Potter, 49, is charged with first-degree and second-degree manslaughter for fatally shooting Daunte Wright during a traffic stop on April 11. The defense claims the shooting was an accident, that Potter, who is white, mistakenly grabbed her gun instead of her Taser when she fatally shot Wright. But, prosecutors say Potter was reckless and negligent and should go to prison.
The deadly shooting sparked days of protests outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department.
Potter’s defense team said the former officer will take the stand in her own defense.
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Brooklyn Center PD commander testifies about Taser policies, Potter's training
Commander Garrett Flesland of the Brooklyn Center Police Department testified on Wednesday about department policies, specifically focusing on Taser use and training.
Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank walked the jury through the police department’s code of ethics, asking Flesland to highlight and read portions, including the line that says, "I will maintain courageous calm in the face of danger."
"It’s a difficult job at times, law enforcement, and we need to continue to strive to be our best," Flesland said.
Flesland then got into the police department’s policy regarding Tasers and Potter’s training on the device. The state showed the court Potter’s records showing perfect scores on several recertification tests.
Flesland showed jurors how he carries his Taser on his duty belt. He has the same setup as Potter, with the gun on his dominant ride side and his Taser on his left.
Defense attorney Earl Gray had a strong cross-examination of Flesland. Flesand testified under cross-examination that Potter has only had a few minor violations in her 25-year career in law enforcement.
Flesland also testified that Potter’s use of deadly force was potentially warranted during the traffic stop that took Wright’s life, but that his knowledge of the facts in the case are limited.
"Would they be in their right to stop that person from fleeing once he was stopped and outside the car?" Gray asked.
"Based on the way you laid it out, yes," Flesland said.
Sgt. Peterson demonstrates Taser ‘spark test’
Sgt. Mike Peterson of the Brooklyn Center Police Department testifying about the department’s use of force policies.
Peterson also addressed the department’s Taser policies. He demonstrated for the jurors how officers are supposed to spark test their Tasers at the start of every shift.
Judge allows police witness testimony on use of deadly force opinions
Judge Regina Chu ruled against two prosecution motions on Tuesday morning. She first ruled that questioning on Potter’s role in the police union does not show bias.
The judge also ruled she would not exclude last week’s testimony from former Brooklyn Center Sgt. Mychal Johnson that Potter would have had the right to use deadly force during the traffic stop to prevent great bodily harm of other offices. The state had asked to bar any more testimony from police witnesses about their legal opinions on use of force.
Kim Potter trial jury
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.