A criminal complaint filed Wednesday against former Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kimberly Ann Potter, 48, is providing additional details into the shooting death of Daunte Wright. Potter resigned from the force, as did her now-former chief of police.
The charge Potter faces, as Law&Crime reported Wednesday, is subsection (1) of Minnesota’s second-degree manslaughter statute (609.205). Though Law&Crime explained the core charge yesterday, the criminal complaint document frames it this way: “That on or about April 11, 2021, in Brooklyn Center, Hennepin County, Minnesota, Kimberly Ann Potter caused the death of Daunte Demetrius Wright, by her culpable negligence, whereby Kimberly Potter created an unreasonable risk and consciously took a chance of causing death or great bodily harm to Daunte Demetrius Wright.”
After reviewing body-worn camera (BWC) footage, agents with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension asserted the following:
On 04-11-2021, at approximately 1:53 p.m., Brooklyn Center Police Officer Anthony Luckey and his Field Training Officer, Kimberly Ann Potter (DOB: 06-18-1972), defendant herein, conducted a traffic stop on a white Buick (MN LIC: 841UBY) at 63rd Avenue North and Orchard Avenue North in the City of Brooklyn Center, Hennepin County. Officer Luckey and the defendant were each equipped with a department issued body worn camera. Officer Luckey identified the driver as Daunte Demetrius Wright (DOB: 10-27-2000), victim herein. Officer Luckey conducted a record check on the victim and discovered that he had a warrant for his arrest for a gross misdemeanor weapons charge. According to time-stamped BWC footage, at 2:01:31, Officer Luckey and the defendant both approached the driver’s side of the vehicle, asked the victim to exit his vehicle and place his hands behind his back. The victim exited the car and initially followed commands. Officer Luckey told the victim that he was being arrested for his outstanding warrant. At that time, Officer Luckey and the victim were positioned just outside of the driver’s side door of the vehicle, which remained open during the encounter, and defendant was positioned behind and to the right of Officer Luckey.
At 2:01:49, the victim pulled away from the officers and got back into the driver’s seat of the vehicle. Officer Luckey attempted to maintain physical control of victim. At 2:01:55, the defendant verbalized that she would tase the victim. The defendant presented her department issued Glock 9mm handgun in her right hand and pointed it at the victim, verbalizing again that she would tase him at 2:01:58. At 2:02:00, the defendant again verbalized “Taser, Taser, Taser” and then pulled the trigger on her handgun at 02:02:01, firing one round into the left side of the victim. The victim then stated, “ah he shot me,” and the vehicle sped away for a short distance before crashing into another vehicle and coming to a stop. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene after medical intervention was unsuccessful.
After discharging her handgun, the body worn video reports the defendant exclaimed, “Shit, I just shot him!”
The document then made clear that Potter kept her Taser on the left side of her duty belt and her gun on the belt’s right side.
SSA McGinnis later collected and reviewed the layout of the defendant’s duty belt. SSA McGinnis observed that the defendant’s handgun is holstered on the right side of the belt and her Taser is holstered on the left side of the belt. Both grips/handles of the defendant’s Taser and handgun face the defendant’s rear, and the Taser is yellow with a black grip. SSA McGinnis noted the defendant’s Taser is set in a straight-draw position, meaning the defendant would have to use her left hand to draw the Taser out of its holster.
That characterization is important, because the available body camera video of the shooting shows Potter holding her weapon in her right hand after presumably drawing it with her right hand, not her left hand. The weapon first appeared on the right-hand side of the screen in Potter’s right hand. Again: she kept her gun on her right hip and her Taser on her left hip.
One of the other officers on the scene kept his Taser holstered backwards on his left hip — with the handle facing towards his front side, not his back side.
In Potter’s left hand appears to be a receipt similar to those police officers give to motorists when writing traffic tickets. It is standard practice for officers to carry less lethal weapons near their non-dominant hand and their service weapons near their dominant hands.
The crime Potter is accused of committing carries a potential sentence of ten years and a $20,000 fine. However, under Minnesota sentencing guidelines, second-degree manslaughter is generally punished by a sentence of 48 months (four years) for someone with no criminal history. The presumptive sentencing range is between 41 and 57 months, though judges can sentence convicted defendants up to the statutory maximum if prosecutors seek a sentencing departure. (Prosecutors in former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin’s trial sought such a departure in the death of George Floyd.) The presumptive sentencing range generally also includes a period of supervised release. For instance, according to Minnesota’s sentencing grid, a 48-month sentence is generally broken into a 32-month prison term and a 16-month period of supervised release.
Potter is due in court later Thursday.
Read the charging document here.
[image via the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office]
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