Kim Potter The trial to kill Daunte Wright in downtown Brooklyn could be a mess

For Amity Dimock-Heisler, Minneapolis Police Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd is personal.

NS The viral video of the crime has caused a stir through social media, and ignited long-smoldering anger about racial injustice and police brutality in the United States. For a few weeks, people took to the streets to protestFloyd’s last pleas for a breather have become a rallying cry, and the world’s focus is on past police killings, including in the Minneapolis area.

That includes the August 2019 death of Dimock-Heisler’s 21-year-old son, Kobe.

Dimock-Heisler told The Daily Beast: “I struggled for months to bring attention to Kobe’s case and at first I was very disappointed that George Floyd’s death was news, not his son. I. “But then people started paying attention to our story and the stories of other parents or partners who lost loved ones to the police. Suddenly, we really got noticed. “

That bright spot is still there for many months after Floyd’s tragic death—And even when Chauvin faced the jury in front of the world last April. But then, in the midst of a trial that would have major implications for law enforcement in the US, white Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter shot dead 20-year-old black man Daunte Wright after being charged. Mistakes her handgun for a rifle during a traffic stop in suburban Minneapolis.

Wright’s case has sparked days of protests in the region and, critics argue, demonstrates that the state has not done enough to correct its policies of de-escalation and the use of force. But as for Dimock-Heisler, his son shot six times by two Brooklyn Park officers In response to a “disturbing call” at his grandparents’ home, Wright’s death at the hands of his now-former police officer colleagues Kim Potter was a more personal blow.

“I didn’t realize it right away [Potter],” Dimock-Heisler said of when she learned of Wright’s death. “Then someone told me that Potter came to the scene after my son’s death and advised other officers get in their car, turn off the body cam and don’t talk to each other. I was overrated. What are the odds. No police officer has been charged in the incident, with prosecutors concluding that Kobe Dimock-Heisler – who has a history of mental illness – posed a danger to them.

“Now I’m terrified at the thought that she won’t be convicted,” his mother added. “We need some justice.”

Potter’s April 11 stoppage trial that began over expired car tabs and ended with Wright suffering a fatal wound to the chest began on Wednesday, just over seven months after Chauvin was convicted for the murder of Floyd. But unlike Chauvin’s trial, seen by many as a firm conviction, Minnesota law and Potter’s insistence — potentially reinforced by video — that the shooting was an accident complicating complicate her case.

Potter, a 48-year-old who resigned following the shooting after 26 years on the job, is facing first- and second-degree manslaughter charges in relation to Wright’s death. She pleaded not guilty, but throughout the trial, prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed that the fatal incident was accidental.

However, prosecutors insisted that Potter was criminally negligent – while the former police’s defense team insisted Wright was resisting arrest and that the use of force was made.

“This case is about defendant Kimberly Potter betraying his badge, betraying his oath, and betraying a position of public trust. And on April 11, this year, she betrayed a 20-year-old kid,” Assistant Minnesota Attorney General Erin Eldridge said during the opening debate Wednesday.

But Ted Sampsell-Jones, a professor at the Mitchell Hamline School of Law in St.

Sampsell-Jones told The Daily Beast: “The fundamental issue with the prosecution is that the video evidence supports the defense’s claim that this was an accident. “Before shooting, she shouted ‘taser! electric gun! taser! ‘- that’s what officers are trained to say before they use the tester, so other officers can move. “

Sampsell-Jones added that for most of those who saw the infamous action-camera footage of the incident, it was clear that Potter had made a “stupid and tragic mistake” – a conclusion that would have left the companies behind. It was difficult for the prosecutor to convince the jury that she broke the law.

“That would make it difficult to convict. Not necessarily impossible, as allegations can be made based on at least some form of reckless accident,” said Sampsell-Jones. “Chauvin’s case eventually turned into a murder. This one is being shaped to be much sturdier. “

To prove the first-degree manslaughter charges under Minnesota law, prosecutors need to prove that Potter caused Wright’s death by “recklessly handling or using a firearm to endanger his life.” safety of another by force and violence to the extent that death or major bodily injury can reasonably be foreseen by any person. To prove the second-degree charge, prosecutors need to prove that Potter ’caused an unwarranted risk’ by using a firearm.

Simply put, prosecutors didn’t need to prove that Potter intended to kill Wright, just that she was reckless in her actions. But to do so, prosecutors also need to pass a higher threshold to prove culpable negligence, which is described in Minnesota law as an “unreasonable, and conscious risk [taking] has the potential to cause death or great bodily harm to others. ”

“For second-degree manslaughter, the statute says she must consciously disregard the risk of death or major bodily harm,” says Sampsell-Jones, adding that “major bodily harm.” is defined in law as serious, permanent disability”.

Even if Potter is “reckless” in the sense that she made a “really silly mistake of drawing the wrong weapon,” he continued, that doesn’t necessarily mean she’s “conscious.” disregard the risk of death or major bodily harm”.

According to Potter’s criminal complaint, Officers Anthony Luckey and Potter, his field training officer, pulled over Wright because vehicle tabs expired on the afternoon of April 11. After performing an inspection Wright’s records, Luckey discovered the young man had a misdemeanor subpoena. . Luckey then asked Wright to get out of the car.


Judge Regina Chu ruled that Wright’s previous alleged conduct would not be admissible during the trial unless the defense could prove that Potter knew about them at the time of the explosion. guns.

Body-cam footage shows Wright getting out of the car, then jumping inside before Luckey can handcuff him. Potter was then seen grabbing her shotgun with his right hand before pointing it at Wright and shouting about the mission.

About a second later, Potter fired a single shot to Wright’s left side. The complaint says that Wright cried out in pain before his car sped several miles and eventually crashed into another vehicle.

“She was trained not to shoot an unarmed driver, she was trained not to shoot at a vehicle and she was also trained not to use her duty on a vehicle. The suspect is on the run, and she is trained to tell the difference between her gun and hers. Eldridge told jurors Wednesday.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office said Wright died of the shot and his death was homicide. After the incident, a Minnesota Department of Public Safety investigator examined Potter’s duty belt and concluded that her shotgun was placed on the right side and her gun was on the right side. left side, complaint Note.

“The grips or handles of both the gun and the barrel are facing Potter’s rear. The prosecutor is yellow with a black hilt,” prosecutors stated in the lawsuit. Eldridge told jurors on Wednesday that Potter had a “duty belt with her gun and her gun” holding the gun on her right hand side and the gun on the left side. hers.

“We believe [police officers] to know wrong from right, and left from right,” added the prosecutor.

Potter was arrested on April 14, a day after she and Sheriff Tim Bannon both resigned from the Central Brooklyn Police Department.

The idea that Potter had misused a weapon was pivotal in her defense’s argument. A study of New York Times in april found that while unpopular, at least 15 other officers around the country have also confirmed mistaking the weapon in most non-fatal situations. The report concluded that about a third of the officers were indicted and only three were found guilty.

During the jury selection process, one of Potter’s defense attorneys also suggested that the ex-cop could testify on her own behalf in order to express the emotional implications of what happened last night. that April day. After Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial, where the teen’s testimony could have proven crucial to his acquittal of two murders and a third murder in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the police outlook spoke up on her behalf appeared very loud.

“While it is unusual for criminal defendants to testify, it is common for them to [should in] cases of confusion or self-justification. The judges wanted to hear their stories. And since her defense told potential jurors Potter would testify in the jury selection process, I fully expect her to,” said Neama Rahmani, a former federal prosecutor. bang, told The Daily Beast.


Protesters confront police officers outside the Brooklyn Central police station on April 12, 2021 in Downtown Brooklyn, Minnesota.

Photo by Scott Olson / Getty Images

Rahmani added that while “juries love the police officers,” this trial is different from Chauvin because he “intentionally made the decision to kill Floyd” while body footage could have helped. Potter’s argument that she believes she used a task. Sampsell-Jones agreed, noting that Potter’s testimony could “help her case.”

“Potter is also cuter than Chauvin, who has a history of excessive force,” added Rahmani.

But for Dimock-Heisler, the deposit if Potter is not convicted is an all-time high. Since Wright’s murder, Dimock-Heisler and her support group Family Support Families Against Police Brutality have been able to advance some parts of police reform and public safety legislation add.

Among them are Daunte Wright and Kobe Dimock-Heisler Resolution Against Violence and Community Safety that would create a “quote and release” policy for misdemeanors and low-level traffic violations — such as expired tabs. The Central Brooklyn City Council passed the landmark legislation in May. This after protests fueled by Wright’s death last year ended with police use explosive flash and tear gas on residents.

“We’ve worked so hard to make Minnesota better, and I’m really afraid they’ll accept her argument that this was a mistake,” Dimock-Heisler said. “If that happens, it just hurts me. Now just thinking about it makes me sad.” Kim Potter The trial to kill Daunte Wright in downtown Brooklyn could be a mess


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