MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Thursday marks the third day of jury selection in the manslaughter trial of former Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter in the shooting death of Daunte Wright.
Over the last two days, more than half of the jurors have been seated. Fourteen are needed for the trial: 12 to deliberate the case and two to serve as alternates.
Judge Regina Chu plans to hear opening statements on Wednesday (Dec. 8), although that could happen earlier given the pace of jury selection, which could wrap up as soon as Thursday.
Below are updates on the trial, beginning with the latest:
UPDATE (4:37 p.m.): A third juror was seated Thursday, bringing the total number selected to 12. Two more spots still need to be filled on Friday, when court will resume.
Juror No. 55 served in the Navy and has been Tasered before, as part of military training. He called the experience “super fun.” His wife and daughter were victims of a carjacking in south Minneapolis last year. He added that he believes systemic racism is a problem and has an unfavorable view of Blue Lives Matter.
Before Juror No. 55 was seated, the defense used a strike against potential Juror No. 51, who had a degree in criminal justice with an emphasis in forensic science. She expressed concern about her name being released.
Potential Juror No. 52 was dismissed by the judge after saying her friend was “interrogated” by Potter, and thus had negative opinions about the defendant. She said she could not be fair and impartial, that the police had “murdered her uncle” and Wright’s death took place a few blocks from where she lived.
UPDATE (2:57 p.m.): An 11th juror has been seated in the Kim Potter trial, and three more are needed to complete the process.
The juror, No. 48, is a mother and an IT manager who grew up on a farm outside of Minnesota. This potential juror initially said in the questionnaire that Wright “should not have died for something like an expired tab,” but can look at the evidence in the case and leave behind personal opinions. The juror says she doesn’t necessarily feel safe around figures of authority, including police, but can be fair and impartial as a juror.
UPDATE (2:34 p.m.): The defense uses a strike against Juror No. 46, who works as a municipality and is currently in law school. No. 46 said they are interested in criminal justice reform.
UPDATE (1:31 p.m.): Judge Regina Chu says the live feed will not air while Juror No. 7, who was seated on Tuesday, is re-questioned over concerns about his identity being released.
The juror said that, after googling his name, it is not as connected to the Potter trial as he originally feared. He says he believes he can serve on the panel fairly.
Attorney Earl Gray apologized to the juror for starting the issue, and said he hoped the juror will not hold his mistake against the defendant. No. 7 responded that he would not.
No. 7 will remain on the jury.
UPDATE (12:06 p.m.): A 10th juror has been seated in the Kim Potter trial. Only four more are needed to complete the process. The court is currently on lunch break until 1:30 p.m.
Juror No. 40 said that he wanted to be a police officer growing up. He originally went to school for law enforcement but later realized that the field wasn’t for him. He specifically said that he feared that he’d end up “having to use my gun.”
The juror said he had a “somewhat negative” view of both Kim Potter and Daunte Wright. He also said that he’d had some unpleasant encounters with law enforcement.
No. 40, a father, expressed considerable concern for his safety when his identity is released sometime after the conclusion of the trial.
No. 40 is the only juror to have been seated Thursday. The three other potential jurors questioned were all excused for cause.
According to the court pool reporter, Potter’s mother was watching the proceedings Thursday and said on the record that she thought jury selection was “going great.”
UPDATE (11:16 a.m.): Judge Regina Chu says that a juror who was seated Tuesday after his name was revealed in open court will be returning to the courtroom at 1:30 p.m.
The judge said the man was “very upset” about his name and other identifying information being revealed.
UPDATE (11:15 a.m.): Potential juror No. 39 is excused for cause.
UPDATE (10:16 a.m.): Potential juror No. 35 is excused from the jury pool. Judge Regina Chu said that she decided to excuse the person for cause because they have an upcoming vacation in December to visit family. The potential juror said that they would not be able to postpone the trip or join with their family later due to the price of airline tickets.
UPDATE (10 a.m.): Potential juror No. 33 is dismissed for cause. Both sides agreed.
During group questioning, he did not raise his hand when asked if he could put his bias, passions or sympathy aside while evaluating the evidence in this case. He told Judge Regina Chu that Daunte Wright reminds him of many of his students.
“I’m trying to be as honest as I can,” he said.
When questioned by a state prosecutor, No. 33 said that he’s been teaching in an urban setting for a long time. He said that the stories he’s heard from students have influenced his views and he wouldn’t be able to put them aside during the trial.
UPDATE (9 a.m.): Criminal defense attorney Joe Tamburino, who is not affiliated with the case, says that there are two things to look for Thursday during jury selection in the Kim Potter trial.
One of them is that the prosecution could ask Judge Regina Chu for more peremptory strikes. The state used the last two of its three strikes Wednesday to remove potential jurors. The defense still has three strikes left. If the state does get more strikes, the defense will get more as well.
The other thing Tamburino is watching for is if the judge increases the number of alternates for the trial, as happened in the Derek Chauvin case. The court is currently seeking two alternates (for a total of 14 jurors). However, the judge could seat more alternates to, say, protect against sickness amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
UPDATE (8:12 a.m.): The court has released demographic information on the five jurors seated Wednesday. According to officials, those seated were:
— a white woman in her 20s (Juror No. 17)
— a Black woman in her 30s (Juror No. 19)
— a white man in his 40s (Juror No. 21)
— a white man in his 60s (Juror No. 22)
— and an Asian woman in her 20s (Juror No. 26).
So far, the nine jurors selected include selected five women and four men; six of the jurors are white, two are Asian and one is Black.
The court still needs to seat five more jurors.
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Jury selection in Kim Potter’s manslaughter trial could wrap up as soon as Thursday.
Nine jurors have been seated so far — four on Tuesday, and five on Wednesday. A total of 14 — 12 jurors and two alternates — need to be selected.
Below are the latest updates in the trial.
Opening statements in the trial were scheduled to begin Dec. 8, though Judge Regina Chu on Wednesday floated the idea of starting earlier, given the pace of jury selection.
Potter is charged with first- and second-degree manslaughter after fatally shooting 20-year-old Daunte Wright during a traffic stop in April. Potter said she thought she was using her Taser but instead fired her gun.
Defense attorney Paul Engh said Tuesday Potter will testify during her trial. Potter reiterated to the judge Wednesday that she plans to take the stand, though she could change her mind at any point.
Lawyers were asked to be in court at 8:30 a.m. Thursday.