MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Former Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter will be charged with second-degree manslaughter in the death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright, according to the Washington County Attorney’s Office.
Washington County Attorney Pete Orput says the complaint is being processed late Wednesday morning.
According to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), agents with the BCA arrested Potter at around 11:30 a.m. at the BCA in St. Paul.
The BCA says Potter will be booked into the Hennepin County Jail on probable cause second-degree manslaughter, with the charges expected to be filed before the end of the day.
“This remains an active and ongoing investigation. The BCA has been and will continue to work with the Washington County Attorney’s Office as the case progresses,” the BCA said.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Wright’s family, issued a statement following the decision to charge Potter.
“While we appreciate that the district attorney is pursuing justice for Daunte, no conviction can give the Wright family their loved one back. This was no accident. This was an intentional, deliberate, and unlawful use of force. Driving while Black continues to result in a death sentence. A 26-year veteran of the force knows the difference between a taser and a firearm. Kim Potter executed Daunte for what amounts to no more than a minor traffic infraction and a misdemeanor warrant. Daunte’s life, like George Floyd’s life, like Eric Garner’s, like Breonna Taylor’s, like David Smith’s meant something. But Kim Potter saw him as expendable. It’s past time for meaningful change in our country. We will keep fighting for justice for Daunte, for his family, and for all marginalized people of color. And we will not stop until there is meaningful policing and justice reform and until we reach our goal of true equality.”
Officer Kim Potter will be charged with 2nd degree manslaughter (the same charge Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted of in the shooting of Philando Castile). Minnesota law defines manslaughter as a death due to "culpable negligence" causing "unreasonable risk." pic.twitter.com/KVnhBfjq0c
— Jason DeRusha (@DeRushaJ) April 14, 2021
On Monday, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced that his counterpart in Washington County, Orput, will be taking over the case going forward in accordance with a new policy put in place last year. Freeman said the new procedure was put in place “to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest in handling such cases.”
According to Freeman, a charging decision will be made by the Washington County attorney after the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension completes its investigation.
Potter is the white former officer who shot and killed Wright, a Black man, during a traffic stop Sunday. Potter and the police chief Tim Gannon have since resigned from their positions.
Before his resignation, Gannon said he believes Potter, a 26-year veteran with the Brooklyn Center Police Department, meant to deploy her Taser during the fatal incident.
“As I watched the video and listen to the officer’s commands, it is my belief that the officer had the intention to deploy their Taser but instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet,” Gannon said. “This appears to me from what I viewed and the officer’s reaction in distress immediately after that this was an accidental discharge that resulted in the tragic death of Mr. Wright.”
Gannon said Wright was pulled over for expired tabs, and that’s when officers discovered there was a warrant out for his arrest for having a firearm without a permit. Wright did not have a gun on him at the time he was pulled over.
More than 60 people were arrested following a third night of protesters clashing with police in Brooklyn Center over the fatal police shooting of Wright.