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Former Minnesota officer charged in shooting of Daunte Wright

Brooklyn Center, Minnesota – Prosecutors in a Minneapolis suburb on Wednesday charged the officer who shot 20-year-old Daunte Wright with second-degree manslaughter, as protests throughout the region have ignited in recent days.

Kim Potter resigned from the Brooklyn Center Police Department before she was charged with second-degree manslaughter (archive photo).
Kim Potter resigned from the Brooklyn Center Police Department before she was charged with second-degree manslaughter (archive photo).  © IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

The Washington County Attorney’s Office announced the charge against Kim Potter, who a day earlier resigned from the Brooklyn Center Police Department. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

Potter shot Wright, an unarmed Black man, during a traffic stop on Sunday in the suburb 10 miles north of Minneapolis.

Police body camera footage showed police attempting to arrest Wright because of an outstanding warrant. Wright breaks free from the officers, hops back into his car, and drives off after the officer fires. What appears to be a woman’s voice shouts, "Taser, Taser, Taser," before a single gunshot is fired.

The shooting of Wright has sparked protests throughout Minneapolis as the area grieves yet another death of a Black man at the hands of police. Much of the region has been under curfew.

"While we appreciate that the district attorney is pursuing justice for Daunte, no conviction can give the Wright family their loved one back," said Benjamin Crump, a civil rights attorney representing the family.

He continued, "This was no accident. This was an intentional, deliberate, and unlawful use of force. Driving while Black continues to result in a death sentence."

Protesters are demanding an end to police brutality

Daunte Wright's shooting occurred during ex-officer Derek Chauvin's ongoing murder trial in the death of George Floyd.
Daunte Wright's shooting occurred during ex-officer Derek Chauvin's ongoing murder trial in the death of George Floyd.  © IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

In downtown Minneapolis, the defense for former Officer Derek Chauvin, who is charged with murder in the death of George Floyd, is presenting its case. The trial could go to jurors by early next week.

On Tuesday, Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon also resigned from the department. Gannon said Potter intended to use a Taser, not a firearm.

Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott has called for calm in the city.

"Daunte Wright’s death will not be exploited," he said on social media. "Some outside elements may be planning to show up to infiltrate peaceful protesters and cause mayhem, we will not allow that. We ask folks to protest peacefully."

The charges are being filed by the Washington County Attorney’s Office.

Although Brooklyn Center is in Hennepin County, like Minneapolis, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office referred the case to Washington County under an agreement used for cases involving police killings.

Cover photo: Collage: IMAGO / MediaPunch & ZUMA Wire

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