Officer who fatally shot Daunte Wright hit with new, more serious charge

The complaint against Kim Potter has been amended by Keith Ellison's office to include first-degree manslaughter.

Kim Potter, the Minnesota police officer who shot and killed 20-year-old Daunte Wright in April, is now facing a more serious charge. 

The complaint against Potter has been amended to include first-degree manslaughter, in addition to the initial second-degree manslaughter charge she already earned. 

Left to right: Former Brooklyn Center, Minnesota officer Kim Potter and 20-year-old Daunte Wright. (Photo: State of Minnesota/Facebook)

According to The Washington Post, the amended complaint alleges Potter committed first-degree manslaughter by recklessly handling a firearm and endangering the safety of another when death or great bodily harm was reasonably foreseeable.

The previous second-degree manslaughter charge alleged Potter had acted with culpable negligence and took an unreasonable risk when she consciously took a chance of causing death or great bodily harm with a firearm.

A conviction for first-degree manslaughter could mean up to 15 years in prison while a conviction for the second-degree count carries a maximum penalty of 10 years. The Post notes that Minnesota state sentencing guidelines call for much less time. 

The case is currently under the supervision of the state’s attorney general, Keith Ellison. It was his office that upgraded the charge. 

Keith Ellison
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Potter’s trial is expected to begin in December. In body camera footage of the incident, she is heard shouting, “Taser!” multiple times but pulled her service weapon instead and fatally shot Wright in his side. 

On April 11, the 20-year-old motorist had been pulled over for expired tags, and officers attempted to arrest him after discovering he had an outstanding warrant for failure to appear in court on charges that he previously fled from officers and had a gun without a permit. 

The National Guard was dispatched to Brooklyn Center, Minnesota in the days after Wright’s shooting, which occurred during the trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd

“He said they pulled him over because he had air fresheners hanging from the rearview mirror,” Wright’s mother, Katie Wright, told CNN affiliate WCCO earlier this year. “A minute later, I called, and his girlfriend answered, which was the passenger in the car, and said that he’d been shot.”

“He didn’t deserve to be shot and killed like this,” said the grieving matriarch.

Potter’s taser was yellow with a black grip, and her handgun is entirely black. Additionally, she had undergone two Taser-specific trainings in the six months before she shot and killed the young man.

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