MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – A Minnesota judge ruled on Monday that the manslaughter case could be brought against a former Minneapolis suburban policeman who shot and killed Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old black motorist, and she has set a trial date for December.
Former central Brooklyn officer Kim Potter, who is white, will stand trial on December 6, barring future scheduling conflicts, Hennepin County District Judge Regina Chu said in a preliminary hearing .
“I find there is a probable reason to support the charge against the defendant, Mrs. Potter,” said Chu.
Potter, who is charged with second degree manslaughter, appeared at the hearing by video conference with his lawyer, Earl Gray, and sat some distance behind him in his office. She looked straight in front of the video screen and had little reaction during the hearing, saying, “Yes, Your Honor,” when the judge asked if the hearing could be conducted by video conference. Potter did not plead during the hearing.
Wright was killed on April 11 during a fight with police over a traffic stop. The former Brooklyn Center police chief said he believed Potter intended to use his Taser instead of his handgun. Body camera video shows her screaming “Taser!” several times before shooting. Protesters and Wright’s family disputed that the shooting was accidental, arguing that an experienced officer knows the difference between a Taser and a handgun. They wanted prosecutors to file murder charges.
The shooting, which sparked days of unrest, took place amidst the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former white Minneapolis policeman who was convicted of murder for pressing his knee against George Floyd’s neck as the black man said he couldn’t breathe.
Police said Wright was arrested on expired tags, but sought to arrest him after discovering an outstanding warrant. The warrant was aimed at not appearing in court for fleeing police and holding an unlicensed firearm during a meeting with Minneapolis police in June.
Intent is not a necessary component of second degree manslaughter in Minnesota. The charge – carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison – can be applied in circumstances where a person is suspected of having caused death through “culpable negligence” which creates unreasonable risk and knowingly takes risks to cause death. the death.
At the start of Monday’s hearing, Chu admitted that Wright’s family and friends were listening and offered them his condolences. After finding there was a probable reason for the case to continue, she set deadlines for court filings, saying it would be to everyone’s benefit to speed up the case.
Prosecutor Imran Ali said the trial date of December 6 works for now, but there may be conflicts with the schedules of expert witnesses once they are determined.
“My goal is to try and keep that trial date of December 6 if we can,” Chu said, adding, “If you need to schedule some type of plea hearing – if it were to happen – I am. still available for this. “
Ali has said the state wants audio and video coverage of the trial to be allowed, while Gray opposes it. Unlike many states, cameras are generally not permitted during most Minnesota court proceedings. The Chauvin murder trial was Minnesota’s first criminal trial to be broadcast live on television, with the judge allowing the broadcast due to high interest and pandemic restrictions that limited courtroom space. The trial of the three co-accused of Chauvin will also be broadcast.
The Brooklyn Center was preparing to fire Potter when she resigned shortly after the shooting. The city’s police chief also resigned, after the city council sacked the city manager.
The Brooklyn Center City Council on Saturday approved a resolution calling for sweeping changes in policing, including the creation of a new division of unarmed civilian employees to handle non-mobile traffic violations and limit traffic violations. situations in which officers may make arrests. The city attorney and the mayor said passing the resolution commits the city to change, but it is not a final action.
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