BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. – Kim Potter, the 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center Police Department who fatally shot Daunte Wright, was arrested and will be charged with second-degree manslaughter, officials said Wednesday.
Washington County Attorney Pete Orput confirmed the charge in an email to USA TODAY and said the criminal complaint was still being processed.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said Potter was arrested Wednesday morning and would be held in Hennepin County jail. If found guilty, Potter faces up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine, according to Minnesota law.
Former police chief Tim Gannon, who resigned Tuesday, said he believed Potter mistakenly reached for her firearm instead of her Taser when she shot Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, during a traffic stop Sunday. Potter, who is white, also resigned Tuesday.
Wright’s family has called for Potter to be held accountable and said they could not accept police’s account of the incident as “an accident.”
The Hennepin County Attorney turned the case over to Orput’s office, per an agreement among prosecutors in the area to refer cases of police use of deadly force to other offices.
Potter is being represented by Earl Gray, an attorney who also represents Thomas Lane. Lane is a former Minneapolis police officer charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd.
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Here’s what we know about Potter:
Potter resigned ‘in the best interest of the community,’ letter says
In a one-paragraph resignation letter, Potter explained she loved her job but felt compelled to step down.
“I have loved every minute of being a police officer and serving this community to the best of my ability, but I believe it is in the best interest of the community, the department, and my fellow officers if I resign immediately,” Potter wrote.
Potter, 48, began working in Brooklyn Center in 1995, according to the Star Tribune. She was named president of the Brooklyn Center Police Officer’s Association in 2019, the newspaper reported.
In 2014, Potter and other officers were awarded the Medal of Merit for their response in a house fire, according to KARE-TV.
Potter resigned the same day as Gannon, who both faced mounting pressure in the community to step down.
Before Potter resigned, Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott called for her to be fired. Former City Manager Curt Boganey said Monday Potter deserved “due process,” but Elliott announced shortly after Boganey had been fired.
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Potter was field training officer during Wright traffic stop
The Star Tribune and KARE-TV reported that during the stop on Sunday, Potter was field training a rookie officer.
Potter’s body-worn camera footage shows her standing behind Wright’s vehicle as one officer approaches the driver’s side and another approaches the passenger side.
As Wright gets out of the car, the officer on the driver’s side begins to arrest him but appears to stop. Potter steps forward and grabs Wright’s arm. Wright then appears to reenter the driver’s seat as a struggle ensues.
Potter is seen pulling out her firearm and aiming at Wright as she shouts “Taser” multiple times. After she fires and Wright drives away, she said, “Oh (expletive), I just shot him.”
Potter involved in 2019 shooting
Potter was one of the first officers on the scene of a fatal police shooting in 2019, when officers shot an autistic man, Kobe Dimock-Heisler, who had allegedly grabbed a knife, the Star Tribune reported.
The newspaper, citing an investigative report from the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, reported Potter told two officers involved in the shooting to “exit the residence, get into separate squad cars, turn off their body worn cameras, and to not talk to each other.”
Contributing: The Associated Press