Juror: Kim Potter made a mistake but was still responsible
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – A member of the jury who convicted Minnesota Police Officer Kim Potter of manslaughter in the murder of Daunte Wright says jurors ruled that she made an honest mistake in drawing her gun instead of her stun gun, but was still responsible for his death.
The juror spoke with KARE-TV journalist Lou Raguse on condition of anonymity because of what the station called “public animosity” surrounding the case. He published the story on Wednesday.
The juror said no one thought Potter was racist or intended to kill Wright, but that doesn’t mean she was above the law.
“I don’t want to speak for all the jurors, but I think we thought she was a good person and even a good cop,” the juror said. “No one felt she was intentional in this. It’s ridiculous that some people would assume we thought she was racist. It never happened or anything like that. she was a good person, we felt like she had made a mistake, and a mistake does not absolve you of the fact that she committed a crime.
“Being a good person doesn’t mean you are above the law. I don’t think anyone felt she wanted to kill someone that day. … It was a tragedy in every way.
Potter shot and killed Wright, 20 in April as he attempted to pull away from a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, a suburb of Minneapolis.
Potter, a 26-year-old veteran with the City Police Department, said she intended to use her stun gun on Wright, but did not realize she had in fact drawn and fired his gun. Wright was black and the shooting happened as another white officer, Derek Chauvin, was on trial in neighboring Minneapolis for the murder of George Floyd. This sparked waves of angry protests in the Brooklyn Center.
Potter, 49, resigned from the police department two days after the shooting. Prosecutors charged her with first and second degree manslaughter. Wright testified at her trial, saying she was sorry the incident happened and the traffic stoppage “is getting chaotic.”
The jury deliberated for 27 hours over four days before sentencing her on both counts on December 23. She faces nearly seven years in prison under Minnesota sentencing guidelines, although prosecutors have said they will seek a longer sentence.
The juror told KARE-TV’s Ragusa that the jurors didn’t feel Potter had lied on the stand and instead felt like she was fighting for her life. But the jury generally thought Potter should have known that she was holding a pistol and not a stun gun given her years of police experience. The juror said a turning point in the deliberations came when jurors handled Potter’s stun gun and pistol and felt the differences.
“The gun was about twice as heavy, and the two guns had several differences in the way they are removed from the holster and fired,” the juror said. “The Taser feels like a mouse click while the trigger (of the gun) has some trigger weight.”
The juror said Potter’s lawyers seemed disorganized. The juror rejected their argument that Wright caused his own death by resisting.
“We talked about Daunte’s actions, but as a jury we did a really good job of separating her actions from those of Kim Potter,” the juror said. “Daunte’s actions clearly had consequences. Just like Kim Potter’s.
The juror said the deliberations got heated at times and the discussions circled around. Almost all of the jurors cried at some point.
“Once we get to the final verdict. . . we still had to wait an hour and a half until it was read, ”the juror said. “While during this last hour and a half, I finally allowed myself to think about the consequences of this tragedy. Obviously, we had been thinking about what this meant for Daunte Wright’s family, but now I started to think about what it meant for Kim Potter’s family.
Find the full PA coverage of the Daunte Wright case: https://apnews.com/hub/death-of-daunte-wright