On Friday, December 17, 2021, Kim Potter took the witness stand to give her account of what took place on April 11, 2021, the day Daunte Wright was shot and killed while attempting to flee from a traffic stop initiated by Ms. Potter. During her tear-filled recitation, Ms. Potter recalled seeing a fellow officer struggling with Mr. Wright as he attempted to shift his vehicle into drive. Then, “nothing happened and he (Daunte Wright) told me I shot him.” During the prosecution’s cross-examination of Ms. Potter, defense counsel requested a recess as Potter became hysterical on the witness stand.
On several occasions, Ms. Potter described the events as “chaotic” and was often unable to remember specific details about the day in question, including the events that took place immediately after the shooting. In the body camera worn by Potter, which captured the entirety of the incident, she can be heard exclaiming that she grabbed the wrong weapon and that she was “going to prison.” During her testimony, Potter, while unable to recall any of the statements that are expressed in the footage, pleaded: “I didn’t want to hurt anybody” and “I’m sorry it happened. I’m so sorry.” The testimony, which lasted nearly two hours in total, concluded eight days of testimony, where a variety of witnesses were called including Mr. Wright’s parents, use-of-force experts, a forensic psychologist, and more.
On Monday, December 20, 2021, closing arguments will be heard from both parties and then the case will be in the hands of the jury. Ms. Potter faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison for her first-degree manslaughter charge and 10 years in prison for her second-degree manslaughter charge. Minn. Stat. 609.20; Minn. Stat. 609.205. The jury must come to a unanimous decision to either acquit or convict Ms. Potter. If they are unable to do so, a mistrial would be declared and the prosecution would have the opportunity to retry the case in its entirety.
Stay tuned for further updates.