MEMORIAL POLICE (AP) – A member of the jury that convicted Minnesota Police Officer Kim Potter of manslaughter in the murder of Daunte Wright says that jurors felt she was making an honest mistake when she drew her firearm instead of her electric pistol, but that she was still responsible for his death.
The jury member spoke to KARE TV reporter Lou Raguse on condition of anonymity because of what the station described as “public hostility” around the case. It published the story on Wednesday.
The jury said no one felt Potter was racist or intended to kill Wright, but that does not mean she was above the law.
“I do not want to speak on behalf of all jurors, but I think we believed she was a good person and even believed she was a good cop,” the jurors said. “Nobody felt she was aware of this. It’s ridiculous that some people assume we thought she was racist. It never came up or anything like that. We felt she was a good person. , we felt that she made a mistake and that a mistake does not absolve you from the fact that she committed a crime.
“Being a good person does not mean you are above the law. I do not think anyone felt she would kill anyone that day. … This was just a tragedy all around.”
Potter shot and killed 20-year-old Wright in April as he tried to drive away from a traffic jam in the Brooklyn Center, a suburb of Minneapolis.
Potter, a 26-year-old veteran of the city’s police department, said she intended to use her electric gun on Wright, but was unaware that she had actually pulled and fired her gun. Wright was black, and the shooting happened when another white officer, Derek Chauvin, stood trial in nearby Minneapolis for the murder of George Floyd. It sparked waves of angry protests in the Brooklyn Center.
Potter, 49, withdrew from the police department two days after the shooting. The prosecutor charged her with first- and second-degree manslaughter. Wright took a stand during her trial, saying she was sorry the incident happened and the traffic jam “just got chaotic.”
The jury discussed for 27 hours over four days before she was convicted of both counts on Dec. 23. She risks close to seven years in prison under Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines, though prosecutors have said they would seek a longer term.
The juror told KARE-TV’s Raguse that jurors did not feel that Potter was lying in the stands and instead felt that she was fighting for her life. But the jury generally thought Potter should have known she was holding a gun and not a stun gun given her many years of police experience. The juror said a turning point in the deliberations came when jurors handled Potter’s electric gun and handgun and felt the differences.
“The rifle was about twice as heavy, and the two weapons had several differences in how un-sheathed and fired,” the juries said. “The taser feels a bit like a mouse click, whereas the (gun) trigger has a certain trigger draw weight.”
The jury said Potter’s lawyers seemed disorganized. The jury rejected their argument that Wright caused his own death by resisting.
“We talked about Daunte’s actions, but we as a jury did a really good job of separating his actions from Kim Potter’s actions,” the jury said. “Daunte’s actions clearly had consequences. So did Kim Potters. “
The jury said the considerations sometimes got heated and the discussions went in circles. Almost all jurors cried at one time or another.
“When we got to the final verdict… We still had to wait an hour and a half until it was read,” the juries said. Of course, we had thought about what that meant for Daunte Wright’s family, but now I started thinking about what that meant for Kim Potter’s family. “
Find the AP’s full coverage of the Daunte Wright case: https://apnews.com/hub/death-of-daunte-wright