The former Minnesota police officer charged in the shooting death of Daunte Wright made her first court appearance on Thursday (April 15), a day after being after being arrested and released on $100,000 bond, according to CBS Minnesota.
Kim Potter, a 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center, Minn., police department appeared with her attorney Earl Gray via Zoom in Hennepin County Court. Both she and police chief Tim Gannon resigned on Tuesday (April 13) amid community anger over Wright being killed.
Wright was fatally wounded in a traffic stop on Sunday (April 11) when he was pulled over for expired tags. In footage from Potter’s body camera video, officers began to place him in handcuffs, arresting him for alleged outstanding warrants. But after a short scuffle, Wright attempted to get in his vehicle, and Potter shouted “taser, taser,” then pulled her service weapon and fired. Wright drove several blocks before crashing. Officers attempted lifesaving maneuvers, but he died at the scene.
At a press conference a day before resigning, Gannon said Potter mistook her taser for her firearm and characterized it as an “accidental discharge.” The Hennepin County Medical Examiner ruled Wright’s death a homicide.
The criminal complaint against Potter said that her taser is placed on the left side of her duty belt, and her weapon is on the right. The grips of both face her rear, and that she would have had to use her left hand to draw the taser.
Imran Ali, director of the Washington County, Minn., Major Crime Unit, said in a statement that his office intends to pursue prosecution against Potter.
“We will vigorously prosecute this case and intend to prove that Officer Potter abrogated her responsibility to protect the public when she used her firearm rather than her taser,” he said. “Her action caused the unlawful killing of Mr. Wright and she must be held accountable.”
Brooklyn Center has seen four nights of unrest in the wake of Wright’s death, with demonstrators demanding justice.
Wright’s mother, Katie Wright, speaking during an appearance with the family on Thursday said that although there are calls for justice, there can never be real justice because of what she has lost.
“There’s never going to be justice,” she said “Justice isn’t even a word to me. I do want accountability. 100 percent accountability. If that even happens, we’re still going to have to bury our son. So when people say justice I just shake my head.
Attorney Ben Crump, who is representing his family, remarked on the quick action by law enforcement toward arresting Potter.
“The reason why we are able to get an opportunity at due process so quickly in the state of Minnesota for the killing of Daunte Wright is because of the blood of their children,” Crump said, referring to several of the mothers of Black men and boys who have been killed by police who appeared with him at the National Action Network Convention in New York on Wednesday. “It was the blood of their children who got us to this point now in America.”
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated.