Minnesota: Fmr. officer posts $100k bond, is released from jail after being charged with manslaughter

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Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to correct the details of Daunte Wright’s previous criminal record. An outstanding warrant at the time of the shooting was related to misdemeanor charges on illegally possessing a firearm and fleeing from a police officer. The open warrant on Wright was not related to the aggravated robbery charge, as previously reported.

 

Kim Potter, the former Minnesota police officer who accidentally shot suspected armed robber Daunte Wright during a traffic stop gone bad last weekend, was reportedly arrested and charged with second-degree manslaughter Wednesday, but out free on bond by day’s end.

“A judge set bail for Ms. Potter at $100,000, or half of that if she agreed to surrender her passport, give up any guns or ammunition and remain in Minnesota. Ms. Potter posted bond and was released from the Hennepin County Jail late Wednesday,” The New York Times reported.

Punishable by up to 10 years in prison (versus 40 years for second-degree murder), the second-degree manslaughter charge “suggests that prosecutors concur with a version of events laid out by city officials,” according to the Times.

Their version of events, which is backed by video evidence, is that Potter accidentally drew her gun instead of her Taser device during an altercation that ensued after Wright began resisting arrest during the April 11th traffic stop gone bad.

Watch the video evidence below (*Graphic content):

However, left-wing activists spurred by what appears to be a desire for vengeance, have dismissed the city’s version of events and crafted their own narrative accusing Potter of having deliberately killed Wright because of racial animus.

“While we appreciate that the district attorney is pursuing justice for Daunte, no conviction can give the Wright family their loved one back. This was no accident. This was an intentional, deliberate and unlawful use of force,” Ben Crump, the attorney for Wright’s family, said in a statement Wednesday.

He added, “Driving while black continues to result in a death sentence. A 26-year veteran of the force knows the difference between a taser and a firearm. Kim Potter executed Daunte for what amounts to no more than a minor traffic infraction and a misdemeanor warrant.”

While it’s true Wright was originally pulled over for a traffic violation, and there’d indeed been an open warrant on him relating to illegal gun possession, what went unmentioned in Crump’s diatribe was that he was also facing charges related to an aggravated armed robbery attempt.

Wright and a high school acquaintance, Emajay Maurice Driver, were both charged with first-degree aggravated robbery sometime in the past as per a December 2019 incident in Osseso, Minn., according to court documents.

The documents show that, after attending an apartment party, the duo wound up staying the night. The next morning, as one of the two women who lived at the apartment tried paying the other resident her share of the rent ($820 in cash) before leaving for work, Wright tried to rob her.

And in trying to rob her, he first threatened the woman with a handgun and then allegedly started choking her when she refused.

Wright was due in court on the charges this August, Insider reported according to reviewed records.

When Wright was pulled over for an expired tag, police reportedly found he had an outstanding warrant related to misdemeanor charges from 2020, issued April 2, for his failure to appear at a hearing for the charges of possessing a pistol without a permit and fleeing from a police officer, according to the Minnesota State Court Administrator’s Office.

Given this violent history and the open warrant on Wright, it appears that police were absolutely justified in trying to arrest him during the traffic stop.

As for Potter accidentally drawing her gun versus her Taser weapon, just convicting her on second-degree manslaughter for this will prove extraordinarily difficult.

“Richard Frase, a professor of criminal law at the University of Minnesota, said the second-degree manslaughter statute is worded narrowly enough that the case might prove difficult for prosecutors to prove, noting that it requires them to show that Ms. Potter consciously took a chance of ‘causing death or great bodily harm,'” according to the Times.

He said in his own words, “She thinks she’s firing a taser, [so] how can we prove beyond a reasonable doubt that she consciously took chances of at least causing great bodily harm?”

Unfortunately, neither Wright’s family nor their supporters seem interested in the actual facts of the case.

In a “Good Morning America” interview on Tuesday, Wright’s mother said “I can’t accept” the official account that Potter had fired her gun by accident.

“I can’t accept that—a mistake, that doesn’t even sound right. This officer has been on the force for 26 years. I can’t accept that,” she said.

“It should have never, ever escalated the way it did,” she added.

It’s not clear whether Wright’s family has seen the video footage showing their son resisting arrest and trying to drive off from the scene.

Meanwhile, because of threats from extremists who’ve clearly bought into the dubious narratives being touted by Wright’s family and attorney, Potter has reportedly had to install “concrete barriers and black metal fencing all around” her home out of fear.

And according to The Wall Street Journal, her neighbors have been fearful as well: A neighbor, who said she doesn’t know Ms. Potter, said the situation has left the community on edge. ‘We’re stressed, we’re nervous. I’ve been told some of the neighbors have left,’ she said, adding that many feel for Ms. Potter.”

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Vivek Saxena

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