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The Cop Who Shot Dead Daunte Wright Is Being Charged With Manslaughter

Kim Potter, a 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center Police Department, will face a second-degree manslaughter charge for the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright.

Last updated on April 14, 2021, at 8:16 p.m. ET

Posted on April 14, 2021, at 12:25 p.m. ET

Bruce Bisping/Star Tribune via Getty Images

Officer Kim Potter in 2007

Kim Potter, the former Minnesota police officer who fatally shot Daunte Wright during a traffic stop on Sunday, is being charged with manslaughter, authorities announced Wednesday.

Washington County Attorney Pete Orput's office announced she would be charged with second-degree manslaughter in connection with the death, which police have said was accidental.

Potter was arrested Wednesday morning by agents at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) in St. Paul. She was booked into the Hennepin County jail.

She was released five hours later after posting a $100,000 bond, according to jail records.

"Certain occupations carry an immense responsibility and none more so than a sworn police officer," Washington County Assistant Criminal Division Chief Imran Ali said in a statement. "We will vigorously prosecute this case and intend to prove that Officer Potter abrogated her responsibility to protect the public when she used her firearm rather than her taser. Her action caused the unlawful killing of Mr. Wright and she must be held accountable."

In their statement, the Washington County Attorney's office noted Potter's handgun was holstered on the right side of her duty belt, while her Taser is located on the left said.

Potter's attorney, Earl Gray, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Courtesy of the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office

Wright's killing in Brooklyn Center set off a wave of protests in the town, as well as headlines around the country, amid continued outrage over the treatment of Black people by police.

Potter, a 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center Police Department, resigned Tuesday. She had been placed on administrative leave after fatally shooting the 20-year-old Black man during a traffic stop on April 11, but instead submitted her letter of resignation two days later.

Her departure came a day after police released body camera footage that showed Potter yelling “Taser! Taser! Taser!” even though she was holding a firearm. The video showed Wright trying to get away from police and jumping back into his car before he was shot by Potter.

Potter could then be heard telling her fellow officers, “Oh shit, I just shot him.”

Then–Brooklyn Center police chief Tim Gannon on Monday called the shooting “accidental,” saying Potter appeared to think she was using her Taser when she fired her handgun.

Gannon also resigned from his position the following day, after two consecutive nights of protests in the city.

Attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Wright's family, applauded the decision to charge Potter, but brushed aside comments from the former police chief calling the shooting accidental.

"This was an intentional, deliberate, and unlawful use of force," Crump said in a statement. "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."

Crump, who has represented the families in other high-profile cases of Black men and women killed by police officers, compared the killing to that of George Floyd, Eric Garner, and Breonna Taylor, whose deaths have prompted protests across the country and calls for police reforms and accountability.

"Kim Potter saw [Daunte Wright] as expendable," Crump wrote. "It's past time for meaningful change in our country."

Wright had been pulled over because of expired tags on his car, and officers attempted to take him into custody when they found he had a warrant for his arrest for missing a Zoom court appearance for misdemeanor charges of carrying a handgun without a permit and running from police.

In her resignation letter, Potter wrote that she “loved every minute of being a police officer and serving this community,” but said that she believed “it is in the best interest of the community, and my fellow officers if I resign immediately.”

Potter had worked in the department for over 25 years and was, at the time, president of the department’s police officers union, according to KSTP. As president of the union, Potter would have led officers in labor negotiations with the city, as well as represented and defended officers during disciplinary actions and after police shootings.

Wright’s death at the hands of police comes while the country, and especially the Minneapolis community, is still reeling from the death of George Floyd, another Black man killed during an encounter with police.

While large crowds gathered outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department this week, the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is charged with killing Floyd, has been taking place just a few miles south in Minneapolis.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.