Former Minnesota officer charged with manslaughter in shooting of Daunte Wright

Crime & safety expert surprised by how quickly charge was filed

Kimberly Potter (Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office)

A former suburban Minneapolis police officer was charged Wednesday with second-degree manslaughter in the killing of 20-year-old Black motorist Daunte Wright.

On Wednesday morning, agents with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension took former Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kimberly Potter, 48, into custody.

Her arrest came one day after she resigned from the Brooklyn Center Police Department and the charge was filed three days after Wright was shot and killed during a traffic stop.

The now-former Brooklyn Center police chief has said that Potter intended to use her Taser on Wright but fired her handgun instead.

News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson, a former officer with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, said there was no doubt Potter was going to be facing criminal charges.

“I’m not surprised at the charges themself, but I am surprised it came down so quickly,” he said.

Reaction to how fast Potter was arrested was mixed.

“I was extremely surprised,” said Jacksonville resident Elzie Bird.

Retired Police Officer Allan Harnage was not surprised to see charges filed so quickly.

“Not in today’s environment. I’m not,” Harnage said.

The shooting Sunday ignited days of unrest and clashes between protesters and police as the nearby murder trial progresses for the ex-officer charged with killing George Floyd last May.

Potter was a 26-year veteran on the force and a training officer.

“I just find it very difficult to believe this officer did not know she had a handgun in her hand versus a Taser,” Jefferson said.

Jefferson said there is a four-step process involved in using a Taser that officers learn during training.

“You unholster it. You turn it on. You announce Taser, Taser, Taser. And then you deploy it,” he said.

Also, law enforcement officers keep their Taser and semi-automatic Glock handgun opposite of each other. Jefferson added: “The butt of the taser feels totally different from the butt of the Glock handgun.”

Green Acres Sporting Goods manager Z. Farhat, who is also a gun expert, said there is an obvious weight difference between a loaded handgun and a Taser.

“Tasers are about 8 ounces or a ½ pound on average, but a fully loaded pistol is 34 ounces give or take,” Farhat said. “So you’re looking at 2 pounds versus a ½ pound, which is a very big difference.”

Jefferson said these are details fully trained officers know.

Despite Potter’s experience, some people are willing to give her the benefit of the doubt.

“Well accidents do happen, but I do question the training,” Harnage said.

Farhat said: “Sometimes you just panic, freeze up and make that mistake.”

Potter was released Wednesday evening from jail after posting $100,000 bond.

In Minnesota, second-degree manslaughter carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison

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