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Officer arrested, will face second-degree manslaughter charge in killing of Daunte Wright

Matt McKinney, Star Tribune on

Published in News & Features

MINNEAPOLIS — Former Brooklyn Center police officer Kimberly A. Potter was arrested late Wednesday morning at the offices of the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the agency said in a statement.

Potter, who resigned from the police department on Tuesday, will be booked into Hennepin County jail on a charge of probable cause second-degree manslaughter in the shooting death on Sunday of Daunte Wright, according to the BCA. The Washington County Attorney's office was expected to file charges later in the day.

It's at least the third time that a U.S. law enforcement officer will face criminal charges for killing someone in what they claim or what appears to be a mix-up between a gun and a Taser.

A 73-year-old volunteer reserve deputy in Oklahoma was charged with second-degree manslaughter in the 2015 death of Eric Harris. Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer Johannes Mehserle was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in a jury trial and sentenced to two years in prison for the 2009 shooting of Oscar Grant III.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman referred the case to Washington County Attorney Pete Orput under a practice adopted last year among metro area county attorney's offices for deadly police shootings. It calls for the county attorney in the jurisdiction where the shooting took place to refer the case to one of the other counties, or the state attorney general's office, to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.

The BCA investigated the shooting.

 

Potter, 48, joined the Brooklyn Center police force in 1995 at age 22. She was placed on standard administrative leave following the shooting.

She is being represented by attorney Earl Gray, who was not immediately available for comment.

Attorney Ben Crump, who said he and co-counsel Jeff Storms have been retained by Wright's family, issued a statement Wednesday calling the charges welcome.

"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," the statement read. "Driving while Black continues to result in a death sentence. A 26-year veteran of the force knows the difference between a taser and a firearm."

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