Ex-cop who killed Daunte Wright lays out possible defense

Oct 14, 2021, 11:29 AM | Updated: 3:11 pm

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A former suburban Minneapolis police officer who has said she meant to use a Taser instead of a handgun when she shot and killed Daunte Wright in April is laying out her potential defenses ahead of her November trial.

Attorneys for former Brooklyn Center Officer Kim Potter said in documents made public Thursday that they might argue that the death of Wright, a Black motorist, was an innocent accident or an innocent mistake. They also might argue that Potter’s “perceived use of a Taser was reasonable” and that there is a lack of causation, meaning Wright is also partly to blame for his own death.

Attorney Paul Engh wrote that Potter might present other defenses as more evidence is reviewed.

Potter, who is white, killed Wright, 20, during a traffic stop on April 11. She was initially charged with second-degree manslaughter, but prosecutors added a count of first-degree manslaughter last month.

The defense has asked for the new charge to be dismissed. The first-degree manslaughter count alleges Potter recklessly handled a firearm and endangered Wright’s safety when death or great bodily harm was reasonably foreseeable.

Engh wrote that when Potter shouted, “Taser! Taser! Taser!” it was evident she thought she was using her taser, not her gun. Engh said Potter didn’t know she was about to create a risk of harm to Wright and couldn’t have been aware of the risk and then ignore it.

“What the jury will see and hear about instead is an accident,” Engh wrote. “And a police officer’s accidental shot is not a crime.”

Engh said that if Potter intended to use her Taser, then she did not intend to shoot Wright, and the facts don’t fit either charge against her.

“The State can’t prove any offense by playing the video, which shows an accident,” Engh wrote. “The prosecution can’t win on Officer Potter’s shouts of ‘Taser, Taser, Taser,’ words meaning she was going to use her TASER, so as to not harm Mr. Wright. Nor for reasons of her enormous after-the-fact regret of what could not have been a conscious act.”

Prosecutors have argued that there is evidence to prove the elements of both charges at trial, where the case will be decided by a jury. They say that the state is not accusing Potter of intentionally killing Wright, but that she “consciously and intentionally acted in choosing to use force … in reaching for, drawing, pointing, and manipulating a weapon.”

Engh is also taking issue with a prosecution use-of-force expert, Seth Stoughton, who Engh says has put forth a false narrative that Potter should have let Wright drive away, presuming he would be arrested later. Engh argued that Wright created a dangerous situation as he tried to drive away and, “Officer Potter could not ignore Mr. Wright’s danger. He had to be arrested.”

Stoughton, a professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law, also testified for the state in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer convicted in the death of George Floyd. In that case, Stoughton testified that no “reasonable” officer would have done what Chauvin did — held Floyd facedown with a knee across his neck for up to 9 minutes, 29 seconds.

Potter’s trial is scheduled to start Nov. 30.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Aslef, Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen members are pictured on a picket line...
Associated Press

Driver walkout halts trains as UK summer strike wave spreads

LONDON (AP) — Thousands of U.K. train drivers walked off the job Saturday in a strike over jobs, pay and conditions, scuppering services across much of the country. The action was the latest in a spreading series of strikes by British workers seeking substantial raises to offset soaring prices for food and fuel. The 24-hour […]
5 hours ago
Associated Press

Dutch arrest man linked to currency mixer Tornado Cash

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Dutch financial prosecutors say they detained a man suspected of involvement in “concealing criminal financial flows and facilitating money laundering” through the virtual currency mixer Tornado Cash. The 29-year-old man was arrested Aug. 10 in Amsterdam, the financial prosecution service FIOD said in a statement Friday. The suspect’s identity was […]
5 hours ago
Ukrainian Health Minister Viktor Liashko speaks to The Associated Press reporters during an intervi...
Associated Press

Ukrainian minister says Russia blocking access to medicines

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine’s health minister has accused Russian authorities of committing a crime against humanity by blocking access to affordable medicines in areas its forces have occupied since invading the country 5 1/2 months ago. In an interview with The Associated Press, Ukrainian Health Minister Viktor Liashko said Russian authorities repeatedly have blocked […]
5 hours ago
ADDS NAME OF DETAINED PERSON Law enforcement officers detain Hadi Matar, 24, of Fairview, N.J., out...
Associated Press

Author Salman Rushdie on ventilator after New York stabbing

CHAUTAUQUA, N.Y. (AP) — Salman Rushdie, whose novel “The Satanic Verses” drew death threats from Iran’s leader in the 1980s, was stabbed in the neck and abdomen Friday by a man who rushed the stage as the author was about to give a lecture in western New York. A bloodied Rushdie, 75, was flown to […]
5 hours ago
A view of the peninsula of Sirmione, on Garda lake, Italy, Friday, Aug. 12, 2022. Lake Garda water ...
Associated Press

Italy’s Lake Garda shrinks to near-historic low amid drought

SIRMIONE Italy (AP) — Italy’s worst drought in decades has reduced Lake Garda, the country’s largest lake, to near its lowest level ever recorded, exposing swaths of previously underwater rocks and warming the water to temperatures that approach the average in the Caribbean Sea. Tourists flocking to the popular northern lake Friday for the start […]
5 hours ago
FILE - Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., speaks before President Joe Biden signs the $1.2 trillion bipa...
Associated Press

Sinema took Wall Street money while killing tax on investors

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, the Arizona Democrat who single-handedly thwarted her party’s longtime goal of raising taxes on wealthy investors, received nearly $1 million over the past year from private equity professionals, hedge fund managers and venture capitalists whose taxes would have increased under the plan. For years, Democrats have promised to raise […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
Ex-cop who killed Daunte Wright lays out possible defense