Charges Upgraded For Ex-Cop Who Shot Daunte Wright

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Minnesota prosecutors filed new, upgraded charges on Thursday (September 2) against the former Brooklyn Center officer charged in the shooting death of Daunte Wright

Former officer Kim Potter now faces a charge of first-degree manslaughter on top of the initial charge of second-degree manslaughter she first received. Activists demanded prosecutors to file a murder charge against Potter during protests following Wright’s killing before state Attorney General Keith Ellison took over the case in May. 

First-degree manslaughter has a 15 year maximum sentence while second-degree manslaughter carries 10 year maximum, though state guidelines on sentencing call for less.

Twenty-year-old Daunte Wright was shot and killed during a traffic stop on April 11. According to reports, Potter was training another officer when they pulled Wright over for having an air freshener hanging from the rearview mirror and for expired tags.

Potter claims she intended to use her taser on Wright but instead grabbed her gun and fatally shot him. Body camera footage released of the deadly encounter sparked local and national protests. At the time of Wright’s death, the world was watching the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd taking place in Minneapolis, just a few miles away from Brooklyn Center. 

Ellison took over the case after Washington County Attorney Pete Orput initially charged Potter with manslaughter. After a promised review of the case and consulting with a police use of force expert, Ellison announced the upgraded chargers were warranted. 

Local activist and executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Jaylani Hussein told The Associated Press that Wright’s family heard about the upgraded charge but were “obviously disappointed” that it was not a murder charge.

Potter's trial is set to begin November 30.

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