Jurors convicted former Brooklyn Center, MN, police officer Kimberly Potter of both manslaughter counts filed against her Thursday in the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright at an April 11 traffic stop.
Potter showed little emotion with her gaze cast downward as Judge Regina Chu read the guilty verdicts for first- and second-degree manslaughter, the Star-Tribune reports.
Potter's defense argued that she had the legal right to use a Taser or deadly force in the form of a gun because Wright resisted arrest and put officers' lives at risk. They told jurors that Potter, 49, meant to use her Taser when she fired her handgun once into Wright's chest, and that her mistake was not a crime.
Prosecutors argued that Potter received copious training during her 26-year career and should have known better, and that even deploying a Taser was inappropriate for the situation due to the risks it posed to others. Prosecutors encouraged jurors in their closing arguments Monday to handle Potter's deactivated Taser and duty pistol during deliberations.
Police had stopped Wright, 20, for expired tags and a dangling air freshener and attempted to arrest him after they discovered an arrest warrant for carrying a gun without a permit and a temporary restraining order filed against him by a woman. Wright had a female passenger with him at the time.
Defendants with no criminal history like Potter would face about 7 years in prison for first-degree manslaughter and 4 for second-degree manslaughter, according to state sentencing guidelines.
Prosecutors filed a notice with the court in October stating their intention to seek a longer prison term than recommended by the guidelines.
Cox Media reports Potter is being held without bail until sentencing.
Attorneys for Potter argued against detaining the former officer until her sentencing, noting that she has appeared for all of her court appearances and saying that she poses no threat to the community.
“She’s not going to run,” lawyer Earl Gray said. “She’s obviously not going to commit any more crimes. She’s been convicted of an accident. She’s been convicted of being reckless.”