Protesters gather by LAPD downtown headquarters in wake of Daunte Wright shooting

Joanna Estrada
April 15, 2021

A white police officer who shot dead a black motorist in Minnesota is to be charged with second degree manslaughter, prosecutors have told USA media.

The Washington County Attorney, Peter Orput, said that Kim Potter, a 26-year veteran of the force, is in jail awaiting her first court appearance.

Body camera video that Gannon released Monday shows Potter approaching Wright as he stands outside of his vehicle as another officer is arresting him.

The shooting has sparked protests and unrest in a metropolitan area already on edge because of the trial of the first of four police officers charged over George Floyd's death a year ago.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Wright family attorney Ben Crump and Rev. Al Sharpton praised Orput's quick action to charge Potter - but Sharpton added that he felt a second-degree manslaughter charge was the "least" charge that Potter should face. "(Potter's) action caused the unlawful killing of Mr. Wright and she must be held accountable".

The statement by the Washington County Attorney's office describes the moments before the fatal shot was sacked.

As Mr Wright struggles with police, Potter is heard shouting "I'll Tase you!"

Hennepin County District Court records show that the warrant was filed for Mr. Wright on April 2 for carrying or possessing a pistol without a permit in a public place and fleeing a police officer.

The two officers told Mr. Wright that he was being arrested for the outstanding warrant, the statement said.

Katie Wright, Mr. Wright's mother, has said that Mr. Wright called her after the police had pulled him over and said that they had stopped him because of an air freshener dangling from his rearview mirror.

He died of a single gunshot wound to the chest, the coroner concluded in an autopsy that ruled the case a homicide. Ms. Potter's lawyer, Earl Gray, did not respond to a request for comment.

Mayor Mike Elliott is defending the presence of media representation in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota days after the police shooting of Daunte Wright sparked unrest. "This was no accident". This was an intentional, deliberate, and unlawful use of force.

Mr Gannon has said he believed Potter mistakenly grabbed her gun when she was going for her Taser. Of the seven previously charged, three were convicted, he said.

"A so-called mistake? A handgun for a Taser?" He was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2010.

The Star Tribune reported that concrete barricades and tall metal fencing had been set up around Potter's home in Champlin, a suburb north of Brooklyn Center, with police cars guarding the driveway.

Police guarded the property Tuesday night and fencing was erected around it as protesters took to the streets for a third night in outrage at the killing of another black man at the hands of law enforcement.

It has also drawn attention to potential issues with the use of Tasers by police officers, with some experts saying problems persist with training and the weapon's design.

Potter, 48, and Police Chief Tim Gannon both resigned Tuesday, a day after the City Council voted to fire the city manager, who controls the police force.

Despite a steady flurry of snow, protesters rallied outside the Brooklyn Center police headquarters for hours on Tuesday evening to make their frustrations known.

Earlier this week, activists said the protests would continue until Ms. Potter was taken into custody. "That will bring peace for us and that will begin the process of healing".

A day earlier Philonise Floyd testified in the case against Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer on trial for murder and manslaughter in the case of George Floyd, whose death a year ago shocked the nation. A verdict could come as early as next week.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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