MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Kim Potter, the former Brooklyn Center police officer accused in the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright, filed a motion on Wednesday to dismiss the first-degree manslaughter charge which was added against her earlier this month.
Potter was charged with second-degree manslaughter days after the shooting, but in early September, Attorney General Keith Ellison added a first-degree manslaughter charge. Ellison’s office argued that Potter committed first-degree manslaughter while also committing the misdemeanor of recklessly handling a firearm when she shot Wright.
Potter fatally shot Wright on April 11 after a traffic stop that police say was initiated because of expired tabs. At the time, the Brooklyn Center police chief, who has now resigned, said Potter intended to reach for her Taser, not her gun. Video evidence shows Potter yelling “Taser!” before she shot him.
The motion argues that in order for Potter to be charged with first-degree murder, we would have had to create “a substantial and justifiable risk that [s]he was aware of and disregarded.” But it goes on to say that Potter did not know that she was holding her gun, and thus could not have consciously disregarded a risk she was not aware of.
Potter’s motion also uses a recent ruling on Minnesota’s updated use-of-force standards to argue that Wright was demonstrating an “apparent” threat.
A judge on Monday temporarily halted Minnesota’s updated use-of-force standards for peace officers, which required officers to articulate the threat against them, not the “apparent” threat.
Organizations representing the state’s largest law enforcement agencies argued that the law infringes on an officer’s fifth amendment right, which the judge agreed with.
The motion argues that Potter thought Wright was about to flee the scene. “The ‘threat’ of Mr. Wright’s possible escape was ‘articulated’ by shouting out ‘Taser, Taser, Taser’,” the motion reads.
“The Complaint’s factual basis is, in the end, hindsight driven. Officer Potter should have done this, she should have thought that. Which has never been the standard to be used when evaluating a police officer’s use of force,” the motion says.
Potter’s trial is scheduled to begin on Nov. 30. A judge ruled in August that it will not be livestreamed.
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