The trial of the former Minnesota police officer who fatally shot 20-year-old Daunte Wright will stand trial beginning December 6 of this year. Hennepin County District Judge Regina Chu ruled Monday (May 17) that the case against former Brooklyn Center police officer Kimberly Potter can go forward to trial, barring any scheduling conflicts.
“I do find that there’s probable cause to support the charge against the defendant, Ms. Potter,” Chu said during a pretrial hearing. Potter, who shot Wright during a traffic stop on April 11 is facing a second-degree manslaughter charge.
Potter attended the hearing via video conference alongside her lawyer, Earl Gray. Members of Daunte’s family were also listening in on the hearing, and Judge Chu acknowledged them and extended her condolences.
During the hearing, Chu also set deadlines for attorneys on both sides to submit court filings and said it would be in everyone’s best interest to expedite the proceedings.
“My goal is to try to keep that December 6 trial date if we at all possibly can,” Chu said, according to a report by The Associated Press. Prosecutor Imran Ali said the scheduled date should work, though schedule conflicts with expert witnesses may cause conflict once they’re selected.
According to the report, prosecutors are moving to allow media into the courtroom during the trial, though Gray objected. Cameras were allowed in the courtroom during the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin who was convicted of murdering George Floyd. That was a first for the state of Minnesota.
Potter did not enter a plea during the hearing, though Judge Chu offered to hold a plea hearing if need be. “If you need to schedule any type of plea hearing –– if that should happen –– I’m always available for that,” she said.
Wright’s killing sparked days of protest in Brooklyn Center and Minneapolis and came amid Chauvin’s trial. Several city officials resigned in the wake of Daunte’s shooting death and the city passed a resolution on Saturday (May 15) to enact police reform. The resolution creates the establishment of a new unarmed civilian employee division to handle non-moving traffic violations.
Police said Wright was pulled over for expired tags and an outstanding warrant was discovered during the traffic stop. The former Brooklyn Center police chief said during a news conference following Wright’s killing that officers knew that tags and registrations had been backlogged due to the pandemic shutdowns.
Photo: Getty Images