Trial begins for ex-police officer Kim Potter in shooting death of Daunte Wright

The defense maintains that Potter saved another officer's life with her actions that day.

Updated: December 8, 2021 - 11:29pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Links

Other Media

Former Minnesota police officer Kim Potter is on trial facing manslaughter charges after the fatal shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright in April 2020.

Wednesday, the first day of the trial, featured testimony from Wright's mother and officer Anthony Luckey, who was training under Potter and present during the incident in Brooklyn Center, a suburb of Minneapolis.

Wright and his girlfriend were pulled over for an expired registration tag and an illegal air freshener hanging from the rearview mirror. When officers ran his name, they discovered that he had an outstanding warrant for a "gross misdemeanor weapons charge," as well as an "order of protection for a female." 

When Officers went to arrest Wright, Luckey recalled he attempted to stop Wright from driving away, and Potter yelled, "Taser! Taser! Taser!," before shooting Wright in the chest.  She then panicked, yelling, "Ah s***! I just shot him… I grabbed the wrong f****** gun. I shot him." She repeatedly screamed, "Oh my God." 

Another officer on scene at the time told her, "Kim, that guy was trying to take off with me in the car."

Wright's mother Katie Bryant cried on the stand as she spoke about that day. 

"A female answered the phone as I was FaceTiming, and she was screaming. And I was like, ‘What’s wrong?' And she said, ‘They shot him,' and faced the phone toward the driver’s seat, and my son was laying there. He was unresponsive. He looked dead," Bryant said, according to Fox News.

Shortly thereafter, Bryant arrived at the scene. "It was the worst day of my life," she said.

She admitted to the defense that her son did not have a driver's license at the time, nor did the car have insurance. Bryant said she was unaware of her son's outstanding warrant.

Potter's attorney Paul Engh described her as "good at de-escalating everything." During her more than a quarter of a century in law enforcement, Potter had never fired her gun or taser before the incident.

"She knows that if he is not stopped – Mr. Wright’s not stopped – he is about to drive away with a police officer dangling from his car," Engh added. 

"She made a mistake. This was an accident. She is a human being," he said. "But she had to do what she had to do to prevent a death to a fellow officer too."

A few dozen people, including family members of Breonna Taylor and Jacob Blake, protested outside of the courthouse Wednesday evening.