The case against a former white police officer who was charged with the fatal murder of a black man in suburban Minneapolis at Brooklyn Center will proceed with a trial starting as early as December, a judge ruled Monday.
Kim Potter, a 26-year-old decorated police veteran, resigned days after shooting Daunte Wright, 20, last month. The tragedy occurred a few miles from where George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis Constable Derek Chauvin less than a year earlier, and it took place days before Chauvin was recognized guilty of second degree murder, third degree murder and manslaughter.
The shooting sparked days of anger protests and sparked sweeping changes in policing in the community.
Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon, who resigned the same day as Potter, called Wright’s shooting “accidental” and said Potter apparently intended to fire his Taser.
Body camera video shows another officer starting to arrest Wright on a warrant for his failure to appear in court on unrelated charges. Potter’s body camera shows Wright running away to his car as Potter pulls out his handgun and yells, “I’ll Tase you!” I’ll Tase You! Taser! Taser! Taser! “
Potter draws his gun and says “Holy (expletive)!” I shot him. “
Potter was charged with second degree manslaughter in Wright’s death. On Monday, she appeared with her attorney, Early Gray, in court via Zoom for a procedural hearing to determine whether the case should be pursued.
Hennepin County District Court Judge Regina Chu ruled the case will continue and said the trial could begin as early as December 6, although prosecutors noted it was early in the case. and that this date may have to change.
“I think it’s in everyone’s best interests to try to speed up this case and try to reach a resolution or a trial as quickly as reasonably possible,” Chu said, noting a series. time limits for discovery and other motions.
Chu began the hearing by acknowledging that Wright’s family and friends were present via video conference and said she wanted to “offer my condolences.”
The hearing ended with Imran Ali, one of the prosecutors, noting that he had filed a motion to allow video and audio coverage of the high-profile trial – a request which Potter’s attorney immediately challenged.
Hennepin County has allowed cameras in the courtroom for proceedings surrounding the Chauvin case. But the two parties usually have to come to an agreement for a judge to authorize the cameras and recordings, according to NBC’s local affiliate KARE 11.
Meanwhile, the case and others like it have already had a ripple effect on the community. The Brooklyn Center city council approved a series of changes on Saturday. Unarmed civilians will enforce non-mobile traffic offenses, and arrests for low-level offenses will be dropped in favor of citations.
Service record reveals kudos, reprimands for Kim Potter
A new community response service will respond to all incidents in which a city resident has a medical, mental health, disability, or other behavioral or social need. The department will include trained medical and mental health professionals, social workers or other experts and volunteers. A dispatch system will route “the appropriate calls to the community response service, not the police service.”
“It’s time for real, structural and transformative change,” said Mayor Mike Elliott, the city’s first black mayor. “We have the ability to start creating that change now. And with that resolution, that’s exactly what we’re doing.”
The Minnesota Civil Liberties Union hailed the changes as a “model for our state and our nation.”
“It is the most comprehensive package of transformative measures in the country,” the group said in a statement.
Potter said in a resignation letter that she had “loved every minute of being a police officer and serving this community.”
Potter, a union leader and instructor, was a decorated officer. She received the Chief’s Commendation in 2007 for her handling of a “suicidal homicide suspect” and her 2 year old daughter. A copy of the commendation read: “Your actions contributed to the safe release of the child and the apprehension of the suspect without incident.”
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Other congratulations were for the recovery of a computer stolen by a company in 2008; help recover a child who was the subject of an Amber Alert in 2006; help locate and arrest two Mississippi bail jumpers in 2006; and the search for suspects in a home invasion robbery in 1998.
A praise note for Potter in 2006 was primarily based on a citizen who called the department that year, praising her and three other officers for “the way they conducted themselves professionally during a high-risk shutdown. and didn’t like what he saw on the TV show. COPS ”, according to the notes of the chief of the appeal.
But some Brooklyn Center residents say his decision to arrest Wright was another example of law enforcement targeting black men for traffic violations. City council member Marquita Butler said many black men, including her own brother, complained to her that the police had racially profiled them.
Elliott said he wanted to establish a closer bond between the community and the police. He pointed out that of the city’s 50 or so police officers, “very few” are people of color and none live in Brooklyn Center.
“I am grateful to our community for coming forward, speaking out and advocating for what we need to make everyone in Brooklyn Center feel safe,” Elliott said.
Contributor: Elinor Aspegren, USA TODAY; The Associated Press