Kim Potter trial updates: Opening statements to begin in Daunte Wright killing case

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Kim Potter trial updates: Opening statements to begin in Daunte Wright killing case
© Jim Mone/AP

The trial of former Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kim Potter charged in the death of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man who was fatally shot during a traffic stop, begins Wednesday.

Opening statements will take place in the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Potter, 49, is charged with first-degree and second-degree manslaughter in the April 11 incident. She has pleaded not guilty to both charges.

Kim Potter trial updates: Opening statements to begin in Daunte Wright killing case
© Jim Mone/AP Signs stand on the south lawn, Nov. 30, 2021, at the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis where jury selection begins for former police officer Kim Potter, who shot and killed motorist Daunte Wright.

Potter has said she meant to grab her stun gun, but accidentally shot her firearm instead when she and other officers were attempting to arrest Wright, who had escaped the officers’ grip and was scuffling with them when he was shot.

Wright was initially pulled over for an expired registration tag on his car, but officers discovered he had an outstanding warrant for a gross misdemeanor weapons charge and tried to detain him, according to former Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon.

MORE: Former officer Kim Potter set to go on trial in death of Daunte Wright

Potter was first indicted on a second-degree manslaughter charge, which alleges that she acted with “culpable negligence” in Wright’s death. A first-degree manslaughter count was later added. Prosecutors say that Potter caused Wright’s death while recklessly handling a gun, causing the death to be reasonably foreseeable.

An intent to kill is not required in either charge.

The maximum sentence for first-degree manslaughter is 15 years and a $30,000 fine and for second-degree manslaughter, it’s 10 years and a $20,000 fine.

Potter resigned from the Brooklyn Center Police Department two days after the incident.

Kim Potter trial updates: Opening statements to begin in Daunte Wright killing case
© Hennepin County Sheriff via AP, FILE This undated file booking photo provided by the Hennepin County, Minn., Sheriff shows Kim Potter, a former Brooklyn Center, Minn., police officer.

The jury of 12 jurors and two alternates in the racially charged case is composed of 11 white jurors, one Black juror and two jurors of Asian descent.

Wright’s death reignited protests against racism and police brutality across the U.S., as the killing took place just outside of Minneapolis, where the trial of Derek Chauvin, a former officer who was convicted of murdering George Floyd, was taking place.

 

Latest Developments

Dec 8, 10:13 AM

Names prominent in the trial

The state is expected to deliver its opening statement first, represented by Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank.

 

Judge Chu will call the case, and hand it to the prosecution. Depending on how long each side takes, it is entirely possible the state call its first witness today also.

-ABC News’ Sasha Pezenik

 Dec 8, 9:47 AM

A look at the jury as trial begins

Opening statements in the trial of former Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter will begin Wednesday at 10 a.m. ET at the Hennepin County District Court in Minneapolis.

Proceedings will take place in the same courtroom where Derek Chauvin was convicted in the murder of George Floyd.

Potter, 49, is charged with felony first- and second-degree manslaughter in the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man. She has pleaded not guilty.

Potter’s jury is less diverse than the one that decided Chauvin’s case: nine of the 12 deliberating jurors are white, alongside one Black juror, and two Asian jurors. The two alternate jurors are also white.

The deliberating jury is 75% white — which is aligned with the racial demographics of Hennepin County, according to Census information.

-ABC News’ Sasha Pezenik

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