A jury found former Minnesota police Officer Kim Potter guiltyOn Thursday, both charges of manslaughter were fIn April, Daunte Wright, 20, was fatally shot during a Brooklyn Center traffic stop. This is a Minneapolis suburb.

In the span of just four days, jurors deliberated for over 27 hours. A majority white jury, consisting of six women of mixed race and six men, heard evidence for eight days. Tuesday was the last day of deliberations. The jurors asked the judge guidance about what to do if they could not come up with a common decision.

“Members of the jury, when you first came into the courtroom, I told you that jurors are the heroes of our judicial system,” Hennepin County Judge Regina Chu said after the verdict. “Well, the 12 of you are our heroes. … Without civic-minded citizens like you, our system of justice could not function.”

Potter is white. chargedWith first-And second-degree manslaughterWright, an unarmed Black motorist was shot in the chest by Wright. She claimed she was going to use her stun gunWright’s firearm was her weapon of choice. The shooting, which occurred with two other officers and a passenger of Wright’s in close proximity, resulted in Wright driving away and crashing into an occupied vehicle. Potter was forced to resign two days later.

In this case, the first-degree manslaughter charge accuses Potter of killing Wright while committing the misdemeanor offense of “reckless handling or use of a firearm.” The second-degree manslaughter charge accuses her of causing Wright’s death “by her culpable negligence.” Prosecutors had reminded the jury that Potter was not charged with murder, and that the state was not accusing her of intending to kill Wright.

The sentence for Potter is set to begin on February 18. For a conviction of first-degree murder, the maximum sentence is set at 15 years and for a conviction for second-degree manslaughter at 10 years. However, Minnesota judges follow sentencing guidelines that normally call for less time ― just over seven years for first-degree manslaughter, and four years for second-degree.

Chu declared that Potter was being held in custody without bail after the verdict. According to the defense, they plan to file for dispositional depart and claim that Potter does not deserve to remain in prison pending her sentence hearing. Chu stated that Potter would not be released on bail.

Daunte Wright is seated in a police bodycam video during a traffic stop, April 11, 2021.
Court TV via Associated Press

Potter’s aggravating circumstances, which are similar to those used in the case against former defendants, were also cited by the prosecutor. Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin in George Floyd’s murder. During the trial Potter waived her right for a juryChu will decide if aggravating circumstances exist in her case.

The trial will be open to all participants. prosecutors pointed out that Potter was a 26-year veteran officer who’d had extensive training in stun gun use and the use of deadly force. The state argued her actions were reckless and unsafe for others. The state called a long list of witnesses to assist the jury in understanding the details of the traffic stop, the difference between a stun gun and a handgun, and the intensity of Potter’s training.

“This was no little oopsie,” Assistant Attorney General Erin Eldridge said in closing arguments on Monday. “This was a colossal screw-up, a blunder of epic proportions. She had been taught to avoid it and had been warned of this for many years. It was irreversible and fatal.”

Potter’s attorneys have argued throughout the trial that the former Brooklyn Center officer made a simple mistake when she killed Wright ― but that she also would have been justified in using deadly force if she’d intended to use her handgun, because another officer, Sgt. Mychal Johnson, was at risk of being dragged by Wright’s car. Defense also claimed that Wright caused his own deathBy resisting arrest at a traffic stop, in which he had been pulled over because he’d an air freshenerExpired tags

“You can train forever, and under exigent circumstances, you can end up making a mistake,” defense attorney Earl Gray told jurors in closing arguments. “In the walk of life, nobody’s perfect. Everybody makes mistakes. Some mistakes are minor. Some of them are very serious.”

Last week, a criminal law expert who studies police use and policing testified. the claim of Johnson’s life being at risk was false. The expert, former police Officer Seth Stoughton, pointed to body camera video showing that Johnson backed out of Wright’s vehicle when Potter yelled her “Taser” warnings. That meant Potter’s use of deadly force was not proportional to the situation, he testified.

Former Brooklyn Center police Officer Kim Potter takes questions from the prosecution as she testifies in court, Dec. 17, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis.
Kim Potter, an ex-cop in Brooklyn Center, takes the stand against the prosecution during her testimony in court Dec. 17, in the Hennepin County Courthouse.
Court TV via Associated Press

Potter herself took the stand at the trial on Friday as the defense’s final witness. Wright attempted to run away from her and the other officers trying to arrest him for an outstanding warrant for gross misdemeanor weapons violations. She was shot by her. The former officer said that Wright was shot in a moment of chaos after he tried to flee the scene while she and other officers attempted to arrest him on an outstanding warrant for a gross misdemeanor weapons violation. she meant to use her Taser ― which is bright yellow and weighs much less than the handgun she carried ― to incapacitate Wright when he pulled away from police and got back in his car. She instead shot Wright with her gun.

Eldridge recorded video of Wright pointing her weapon at Wright several seconds prior to shooting. The ex-cop started sobbing as she described the incident. For most of Potter’s cross-examination, she was matter-of-fact and gave brief answers. She did not show emotion while Chu read the jury’s verdict on Thursday.

“The family of Daunte Wright is relieved that the justice system has provided some measure of accountability for the senseless death of their son, brother, father and friend,” the Wright family’s legal team said in a statement. “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, training and protocols.”

Wright’s death fueled nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice, and led to Brooklyn Center passing a progressive resolutionThis provides a roadmap for overhauling the country’s public safety system. The Daunte Wright and Kobe Dimock-Heisler Community Safety & Violence Prevention Act creates an oversight office to monitor police, and a new department consisting of unarmed civilians responsible for non-moving traffic violations.

“If we are ever going to restore the confidence of Black and marginalized Americans in law enforcement, we need to have accountability and a commitment to listening and to creating meaningful change. We must now turn our attention to ensuring that Kim Potter receives the strongest and most just sentence possible,” lawyers for the Wright family said in their statement. “It is also imperative that we focus on the conduct of Brooklyn Center and pinpoint its systemic failures that contributed to Daunte’s unlawful death.”

Source: HuffPost.com.

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