MINNEAPOLIS – Jurors will hear opening statements Wednesday in the manslaughter trial of former Minnesota police officer Kim Potter, who shot Daunte Wright while yelling “Taser” in a Minneapolis suburb earlier this year.

This is the second occasion in Minnesota’s history that proceedings in criminal trials are live-streamed. The first time was earlier this year for the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was convicted of murdering George Floyd.

Fourteen people – 12 jurors and two alternates – are set to hear evidence in the case. The jury, which will remain anonymous until the conclusion of the trial, includes six men and six women whose ages range from 20s to 60s. The court received nine jurors who identified themselves as white, two Asian, and one Black. Alternates are a white woman aged 70 and a man of 30 years.

Prosecutors claim that Potter, 48 was a Brooklyn Center Police veteran and committed first-and second-degree manslaughter for Wright’s 20-year-old death. Potter recklessly handled her firearm and caused Wright’s death by her “culpable negligence” – a conscious disregard of a substantial and unjustifiable risk, according to the complaint.

Court filings show that defense lawyers claim the shooting occurred as an accidental and misplaced discharge. According to them, Potter expressed immediate “regret” after the shooting.

Maximum sentence for the first-degree charge of manslaughter is 15 years imprisonment and/or a $30,000 penalty. Maximum sentence for the second-degree offense is 10 years, and/or $20,000 in fine.

Who is on the Jury? Kim Potter trial jury, Daunte Wright’s murder case

Wright, Potter, and an additional officer stopped Wright on April 11, according to the complaint. The car Wright was driving contained air fresheners hanging from its rearview mirror as well as expired plates. According to the complaint, Wright was arrested after officers found he had an outstanding warrant.

Police bodycam video of the incident shows Wright initially got out of the car and placed his hands behind his back. He then pulled away as an officer attempted to handcuff him and got back into the driver’s seat of the car.

“I’ll tase ya,” Potter yelled as she removed her handgun and pointed it at Wright, according to the complaint. She yelled, “I’ll tase you” and “Taser, Taser, Taser,” before firing a shot into Wright’s chest. After shouting several expletives, she said that Wright had “grabbed the wrong gun”.

Are you a lethal force? While Tasers may be used to save lives and prevent injuries, many people are still killed by them.

Wright was driving his car along the road when he crashed into another vehicle. Wright was immediately declared dead and the woman driving the car he was involved in crashed into another vehicle. Wright’s death was later determined to be homicide by the medical examiner.

It took place just miles away from the Chauvin trial. The shooting spurred tributes to Wright nationwide and multiple days of protests and looting in Brooklyn Center, where police and the Minnesota National Guard responded with rubber bullets and tear gas.

U.S. Census Bureau data shows that 68% of Hennepin County residents don’t identify themselves as non-Hispanic white. Nearly 14% of them are Black. 7.5%, 7.5%, and 7%, respectively, are Hispanics or Latinos. Seventy-five percent of the jury is white with nine members.

While the Chauvin trial was marked by heavy security measures – with concentric rings of concrete barriers, razor-wire and tall metal fences encircling the Hennepin County Government and members of the Minnesota National Guard present – fewer security measures appeared to be in place for the Potter trial.

Manslaughter or a wrong gun? Kim Potter, an ex-officer from Minnesota is charged with Daunte Frank shooting

Marcia Howard, high school teacher, stated that some residents are closely watching what is happening. She has been in the George Floyd Square area for 19 months and has been there almost every day.

“Our eyes are on this trial,” Howard said Tuesday evening in the 16-degree weather as she stoked a fire in the parking lot of a Speedway, across the street from where Floyd was murdered. People stopped to sit and chat by the fire, as many residents did. Howard stated that the trial is being discussed by a group who meets on the square every morning and night.

Daunte Wright’s name is inscribed on the sign: “Justice for Daunte Wright!” The sign for the gas station and convenience store had the words “Justice for Daunte Wright!”

Brooklyn Center is 10 miles from Wright’s shooting location. A similar sculpture with a raised fist can be found there. Candles encircle the sculpture, and photos, posters, flowers and Christmas lights hang from the fence lining the yard of a house. A sign with the words “Daunte Dr” hangs from a telephone pole covered in dozens of tree-shaped air fresheners.

Howard stated that even though Kim Potter was on trial, the law enforcement system and our judiciary are also under investigation.

What could be the difference between a Taser and a gun? At least 16 cases of weapon confusion have occurred since 2001

Source: USAToday.com

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