Kim Potter asks court to dismiss 1st-degree manslaughter charge
BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. (FOX 9) – Kim Potter, the former Brooklyn Center police officer who shot and killed Daunte Wright during a traffic stop in April, is asking the court to dismiss the first-degree manslaughter charge against her after a recent ruling put Minnesota’s new deadly force law on hold.
Potter was initially charged with second-degree manslaughter in Wright’s death. Attorney General Keith Ellison, who took over the case in May, added the first-degree manslaughter charge earlier this month.
A new law that went into effect in March raised the threshold to justify the use of deadly force, now requiring law enforcement to articulate the specifics of a threat rather than simply show an apparent fear for their own safety and the safety of others as they could under the old law.
But this week, Ramsey County Judge Leonardo Castro granted a temporary injunction to the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association and agreed to suspend the new law to take a look at its constitutionality. While the law is on hold, it will revert back to what it was before March.
In the motion filed Wednesday, Potter’s legal team argues with the old statute now applicable to her case, her actions do not warrant the first-degree manslaughter charge. They claim the body camera footage of the incident show Wright’s “apparent” threat and say Potter had good reason to believe he was about to flee police in his vehicle, according to the court documents.
“The complaint’s factual basis is, in the end, hindsight driven,” the motion reads. “Officer Potter should have done this; she should have thought that. Which has never been the standard to be used when evaluating police officers’ use of force.”
Daunte Wright shooting bodycam video was released April 12 by the Brooklyn Center, Minnesota Police Department. Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said it was an accidental discharge, that the officer who shot Wright had intended to reach for a taser, but discharged a handgun instead.
Body camera video of the April 11 traffic stop showed Potter yelling for her Taser, but ultimately pulling out her handgun and firing at Wright, who later died. The Brooklyn Center police chief at the time said he believed Potter mistook her gun for her Taser.
Potter’s trial is scheduled to begin on Nov. 30.