Daunte Wright trial: White cop found guilty on manslaughter charges

WION Web Team
Minneapolis, United States Published: Dec 24, 2021, 08:24 AM(IST)

Daunte Wright Photograph:( AFP )

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Potter is now facing up to 15 years in prison on the first charge and 10 years on the second charge, and her sentencing is expected to take place in February

On Thursday, a former United States police officer was found guilty of manslaughter for fatally shooting a young African-American during a traffic stop, claiming that she mistook her weapon for a Taser.

Kim Potter, 49, was found guilty of first-degree and second-degree manslaughter for killing 20-year-old Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, earlier this year in April.

Also read | Daunte Wright trial: Prosecutor says cop 'betrayed her badge', defence blames the slain victim

It took place during the trial of white policeman Derek Chauvin, who kneeled on the neck of Black man George Floyd for around nine minutes in May 2020, asphyxiating him.

Nationwide protests against police brutality and racism were sparked by Floyd's death. 

Potter is now facing up to 15 years in prison on the first charge and 10 years on the second charge, and her sentencing is expected to take place in February.

While the judge read out the guilty verdicts in court, she looked down and closed her eyes briefly, but otherwise did not react.

Also read | ​​​​​​​US police officer testifies at manslaughter trial for killing Daunte Wright

"Her remorse and her regret for the incident is overwhelming. She's not a danger to the public at all," Paul Engh, Potter's lawyer, said as he asked Chu to release her on bail pending sentencing.

Potter, however, will remain in jail until her sentence is handed down. 

In a statement, Wright's family expressed relief that "some measure of accountability" had been established for "the senseless death of their son, brother, father, and friend."

"From the unnecessary and overreaching tragic traffic stop to the shooting that took his life, that day will remain a traumatic one for this family and yet another example for America of why we desperately need change in policing," they said.

Also read | Brooklyn protests after Daunte Wright's brutal killing

At a press conference, Wright's mother, Katie Wright, said she felt "every emotion you can imagine" as the verdict was read. Outside the court, supporters danced and played music after the verdict was announced.

Potter had pleaded not guilty and said the shooting was an accident, claiming that she had grabbed her firearm instead of her Taser stun gun.

During her emotional testimony, she described how a traffic stop that was supposed to be routine turned into "chaotic."

"I remember yelling 'Taser Taser Taser.' And nothing happens, then he told me I shot him," Potter said, bursting into tears.

The moments following were largely blank, she said. 

"They have an ambulance for me and I don't know why. And then I went, then I was at the station. I don't remember a lot of things afterwards," she said. 

Following Wright's death, protests and unrest erupted in Brooklyn Center for several nights before Potter's arrest quelled tensions.

(With inputs from agencies)

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