Defense rests after Kim Potter describes ‘chaotic’ traffic stop that killed Wright

The defense has rested in the trial of a Minnesota police officer charged in the fatal shooting of Black motorist Daunte Wright.

Kim Potter, 49, is charged with manslaughter in Wright’s death during a traffic stop on 11 April in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center.

Potter has said she meant to use her Taser to subdue Wright when he pulled away from officers and got back into his car as they tried to arrest him on a warrant for a weapons violation. She shot him once with her handgun instead.

Potter, who resigned two days after the shooting, broke down in tears at one point as she took the stand and testified that the traffic stop “just went chaotic” after Wright tried to get back into his car and leave.

Potter was training a new officer when that officer decided to pull Wright over for expired license plate tags and an air freshener hanging from his mirror. Potter said that if she had been alone, she probably wouldn’t have made the stop.

“I remember yelling, Taser, Taser, Taser and nothing happened, and then he told me I shot him,” Potter said through tears. It was the first time the former Brooklyn Center officer has publicly spoken in detail about the shooting.

Potter’s attorneys have argued that she made a mistake but also would have been within her rights to use deadly force if she had meant to because another officer was at risk of being dragged by Wright’s car.

Prosecutors argue that Potter was an experienced officer who had been thoroughly trained in the use of a Taser, including warnings about the danger of confusing one with a handgun. They have to prove recklessness or culpable negligence in order to win a conviction on the manslaughter charges.

The death of Wright set off angry demonstrations for several days in Brooklyn Center.

It happened as another white officer, Derek Chauvin, was standing trial in nearby Minneapolis for the killing of George Floyd.

After Potter shot Wright, his car took off and crashed seconds later into an oncoming vehicle, hurting his passenger and someone in the other car. The case is being heard by a mostly white jury.

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