Officer Charged With Manslaughter In Daunte Wright's Death

by Madison Vanderberg
Bruce Bisping/Star Tribune/Getty

Kim Potter to be charged with second-degree manslaughter for killing Daunte Wright at a traffic stop

Kim Potter, a 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center Police Department in Minnesota, who shot and killed Daunte Wright during a traffic stop on Sunday afternoon, will be charged with second-degree manslaughter (via The New York Times).

20-year-old Daunte Wright was shot in the chest and killed by Potter on Sunday April 11, 2021 when he was pulled over for having expired license plates.

According to body cam footage, Potter reportedly believed she was holding a taser, and not a gun, when she shot and killed Daunte. Tragically, like so many Black men before him in recent years, Wright was killed over a minor traffic infraction. Even worse still, this shooting occurred just ten miles from where George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer last year, all in the midst of Derek Chauvin’s ongoing trial over Floyd’s death.

Potter and the Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon resigned on Tuesday in the wake of Wright’s death, though Gannon attempted to defend Potter’s actions in a press conference on Monday, saying she believed she had grabbed her taser instead of her gun. However, this “explanation” only served to agitate the public more, with many wondering how it’s possible that a police officer could confuse a taser with such a fatal weapon and how would “police reform” ever correct this.

Second-degree manslaughter carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine, according to Minnesota law.

“While we appreciate that the district attorney is pursuing justice for Daunte, no conviction can give the Wright family their loved one back. This was no accident. This was an intentional, deliberate, and unlawful use of force. Driving while Black continues to result in a death sentence,” Ben Crump, attorney for the Wright family, said in a statement (via Axios). “It’s past time for meaningful change in our country. We will keep fighting for justice for Daunte, for his family, and for all marginalized people of color. And we will not stop until there is meaningful policing and justice reform and until we reach our goal of true equality.”

Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott, who is Black, said the shooting of Wright was “heartbreaking, unfathomable” and told Today on Tuesday that “In this country, if you’re black and you get pulled over by the police, you have a very much higher chance of being dead just because you’re black, and just because you’re encountering police. That is a fact we have to all wrestle with.”

“We’ve seen this far too many times where a young black man or woman is pulled over by police or encounters police and they end up dead,” he continued. “People protesting are asking when will this stop.”