Update (Dec. 30, 2021): In a television interview released Wednesday, a member of the jury who found former police officer Kim Potter guilty in the slaying of Daunte Wright gave an inside look on the deliberations. The juror spoke on the condition of anonymity due to what the television station described as the “public animosity” surrounding the case.
In the interview, the juror said they felt the jury believed Potter “was a good person and even believed she was a good cop.” They said no one felt Potter was a racist, or that she meant to kill Wright when she shot him with a handgun instead of a taser.
“No one felt she was intentional in this,” the juror said. “It’s ludicrous that some people are assuming we thought she was a racist. That never came up or anything like that.”
However, the juror also added “a mistake does not absolve you from the fact she did commit a crime.”
“Being a good person doesn’t mean you’re above the law. I don’t think anyone felt she wanted to kill anybody that day. … This was just a tragedy all the way around,” the juror said.
Original Story (Dec. 23, 2021): The jury in the trial of Kim Potter, the former police officer who shot and killed Daunte Wright at a traffic stop back in April, found Potter guilty on two counts of manslaughter Thursday. The video above shows the verdict being read, as well as reaction from the Wright’s parents. Potter had said she accidentally used a gun instead of a taser as she was trying to prevent Wright from leaving the scene.
“She’s been convicted of an accident, convicted of being reckless,” Potter’s attorney Earl Gray said in a post-verdict hearing. He was arguing for Potter to be released from custody until sentencing. Clips from his argument can also be found in the video above.
“Her remorse and regret for the incident is overwhelming. She’s not a danger to the public whatsoever. She’s made all her court appearances, including all appearances in the court,” Gray argued. “It is a Christmas holiday season. She is a devoted Catholic, no less, and there is no point to incarcerate her at this point in time.”
Judge Regina Chu rejected Gray’s request, saying she “cannot treat this case any differently than any other case.”
Potter’s guilty verdict came after four days of jury deliberations. Time-stamps on the verdicts showed that the jurors agreed on the second-degree manslaughter count on Tuesday. However, it appeared they were split on the first-degree manslaughter account. They asked Chu Tuesday afternoon what to do if they were having difficulty agreeing. The guilty verdict on the first-degree count was reached at 11:40 a.m. Thursday.
“With the jury finding Kimberly Potter guilty today of manslaughter in the first degree and manslaughter and second degree in connection with Daunte’s death, we have a degree of accountability for Daunte’s death,” Minnesota Attorney General said after the verdict. “Accountability is not justice. Justice is restoration. Justice would be restoring Daunte to life and making the Wright family whole again.”
Potter faces about seven years in prison on the most serious count under the state’s sentencing guidelines. However, prosecutors said they would seek a longer term. The maximum for 1st-degree manslaughter is 15 years.
Hennepin County Judge Regina Chu: “I’m now going to read your verdicts as it will as it will appear in the permanent court records of Hennepin County. In the matter of state of Minnesota versus Kimberly Potter, court file number 27CR 217490, we the jury on the charge of manslaughter in the first degree while committing a misdemeanor on or about April 11, 2021 in Hennepin County state of Minnesota find the defendant guilty. And the verdict was agreed to at the hour of 11:40 a.m. and signed by the jury person on a 12/23/21. The verdict on count two is we, the jury on the charge of manslaughter in the second degree, culpable negligence on or about April 11, 2021 in Hennepin County state of Minnesota find the defendant guilty. And that verdict was agreed to at 10:30 a.m. on 12/21/21. Members of the jury, is this your true and correct verdict, so say you one and so say you all?”
Hennepin County Judge Regina Chu: “OK, you may be seated. All right. I am now going to poll the jury.”
Paul Engh, attorney for Kim Potter: “You know, we will be filing a motion for dispositional departure on the case, she is amenable to probation. Her remorse and regret for the incident is overwhelming. She’s not a danger to the public whatsoever. She’s made all her court appearances, including all appearances in the court. It is a Christmas holiday season. She is a devoted Catholic, no less, and there is no point to incarcerate her at this point in time because, A, you haven’t decided what the sentence is going to be. B, the dispositional departure arguments are quite strong on this case and C, it’s not necessary for the preservation of public safety. So for those reasons, she need not be incarcerated whatsoever pending sentencing. You certainly can do it after sentencing. But this is a rather unique case of someone who has law enforcement experience and was never in trouble all her life and is 49, which is beyond the age of most defendants that you see. Plus, she has deep roots in the community and her family’s here, and there’s no evidence that she would flee. So we respectfully ask you to change your mind.”
Earl Gray, Attorney for Kim Potter: “Your honor, bail right now is $100,000. She’s got that posted right now. She’s not going to run. She obviously is not going to commit any more crimes, and she’s been convicted of an accident, convicted of being reckless.”
Judge Regina Chu, Hennepin County Court: “And I am going to require that she be taken into custody and held without bail. And I recognize your arguments, Mr. Engh and Mr. Gray, but I cannot treat this case any differently than any other case.”
Katie Bryant, Daunte Wright’s mother: “Oh, my gosh. The moment that we heard guilty on manslaughter one, emotions, every single emotion that you could imagine just running through your body at that moment, I kind of let out a yelp because it was built up in the anticipation of what was to come when while we were waiting for the last few days and now we’ve been able to process it. We want to thank the entire prosecution team. We want to thank community support, everybody who’s been out there that has supported us and this this long fight for accountability.”
Aubrey Wright, Daunte Wright’s father: “The truth be told, what do I think? I want to thank her. I’m gonna keep it short.”