Legal experts weigh in ahead of Kim Potter Trial
(FOX 9) - Kimberly Potter, the former Brooklyn Center police officer charged in connection to the death of Daunte Wright, will stand trial this week.
The case comes less than a year after the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was found guilty in the murder of George Floyd. Video evidence played a key role in Chauvin’s trial, and it will also be integral to Potter’s case.
FOX 9 asked legal experts to weigh in on how Potter could be found innocent or guilty of manslaughter.
"It’s not as blatant as the Chauvin case where he knelt on the guy’s neck for such a long time and he showed such indifference. She immediately showed shock that she made a mistake, and this will come into play," said Joseph Daly, emeritus professor at Mitchell Hamline Law School.
Professor Daly said based on what he knows so far, he doesn’t believe Potter should be charged criminally. Instead, he questions the Taser manufacturer for making a product an officer might mistake for their firearm in the heat of the moment. Potter’s defense team has argued the former officer mistook her gun for her Taser while 20-year old Daunte Wright attempted to escape from the traffic stop.
Attorney Fred Bruno, who is not involved in the case, also said he believes Potter has a strong case for full acquittal.
"The accidental, as opposed to intentional, discharge of a service weapon by a law enforcement agent has rarely, if ever, been charged out as a crime in Minnesota. As a general rule, a guilty mind or evil intent is necessary for an offense to be criminal."
Meanwhile, the Wright family and their legal representatives question Potter’s motivation and use of force during a minor traffic stop for expired tabs, calling for justice at a solidarity rally.
"This is only a first step, the prosecution. We now need a conviction," said Jeff Storms, civil attorney for the family. "A couple years ago, we had a Black officer kill a white woman, and he was held greatly accountable when he said he shot someone and it was an accident. Now we’re going to be faced with very similar circumstances, and the question is, are we prepared to hold a white officer accountable for killing a young Black man?"
Jury selection in Potter's trial gets underway Tuesday.
How to watch the Kim Potter trial
Judge Chu has allowed cameras in the courtroom and for the Potter trial to be streamed live. The Potter trial will be streamed live, gavel to gavel, on fox9.com/live, the FOX 9 YouTube channel and the FOX 9 News App. Download the app for Android or Apple.