Jury selection begins Tuesday in the trial of Kim Potter, a former suburban Minneapolis police officer who allegedly shot and killed Daunte Wright when she mistook her Taser for her handgun during an attempted arrest in April.
Potter faces charges of first- and second-degree manslaughter in Wright’s death, which sparked protests last April in an area that was already on edge during the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd.
Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, was pulled over by Potter and the officer she was training, Anthony Luckey, because his car had expired license plate tabs and an air freshener hanging from the rearview mirror, according to a criminal complaint.
Luckey then found that Wright had an outstanding warrant for a weapons violation and attempted to arrest him. Wright initially obeyed orders to get out of the car but tried to get back in as he was being handcuffed.
Potter’s body camera shows her saying, “I’ll tase ya,” then pulling out her handgun and repeating again, “I’ll tase you.”
About two seconds later, Potter said, “Taser Taser Taser,” and fired a single shot into Wright’s chest.
“S—! I just shot him. … I grabbed the wrong f—— gun,” Potter said. “I’m going to go to prison.”
Potter’s defense will likely argue that it was a mistake, but prosecutors will argue that she committed first-degree manslaughter while recklessly handling a gun. The charge for second-degree manslaughter requires culpable negligence.
When jury selection begins Tuesday, attorneys will likely screen jurors for their opinions on the social justice protests that erupted in the wake of George Floyd’s death in May 2020.
Questionnaires have already been sent out to potential jurors with questions about the protests and whether they have participated in any.
At least six days have been set aside for jury selection. The process took 11 days in the trial of Derek Chauvin.
Opening statements could begin as soon as Dec. 8.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.