What you need to know about the Kim Potter trial
(KSTP) – Jury selection begins Tuesday for the trial of former Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter, who is charged with manslaughter in the death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright.
Potter shot and killed Wright during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center on April 11.
According to a criminal complaint, Wright was pulled over for expired tabs. During the encounter, officers ran Wright’s name through the system and discovered he had an outstanding warrant that had been filed earlier that month.
According to the police version of events, Wright got back into the car as an officer was trying to arrest him. That’s when body camera footage shows Potter aiming her handgun at Wright while shouting "Taser! Taser! Taser!" before pulling the trigger.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner ruled Wright’s death a homicide from a bullet wound to the chest.
Then-Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon, who resigned from his post just two days after the shooting, said Potter’s use of her sidearm was an "accidental discharge." Potter, a 26-year veteran of the police force, submitted her resignation the same day.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman sent the case over to the Washington County Attorney’s Office to avoid a conflict of interest. Washington County Attorney Pete Orput initially charged Potter with second-degree manslaughter in Wright’s death.
On May 21 the case was overtaken by the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office, and state prosecutors elected to add a higher charge of first-degree manslaughter. Potter’s defense requested to have the more serious charge dropped, but Hennepin County District Judge Regina Chu, who is presiding over the case, let it stand.
Jury selection is expected to last up to one week, and opening statements are scheduled to be presented on Dec. 8. According to the jury questionnaire, the trial and deliberations will take up approximately two weeks following opening statements.
Chu has ordered partial sequestration of the jury during the trial. That means jurors will remain at the Hennepin County Government Center during the day — including breaks — under the watch of sheriff’s deputies, and the court will provide lunch for the jury as well. They will be able to use electronic devices during recess.
Once the jury enters deliberation, however, the panel will be fully sequestered, according to Chu’s order. They will still be able to contact family members as long as they do not discuss the trial.
Chu, citing rising COVID-19 cases in Minnesota, made the decision to allow cameras and microphones to capture the trial proceedings. She had initially ruled that audio-visual coverage would not be permitted. However, to keep the jurors’ identities confidential, the cameras will not show their faces, and the jurors will be called by their number.