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Jury finds Minnesota officer who killed Black motorist guilty of manslaughter

UPDATE: MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota — Kim Potter was found guilty of first- and second-degree manslaughter Thursday for the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright, which occurred when the former Minnesota police officer testified she mistook her service weapon for a Taser.

Potter, wearing a black sweater over a black-and-white blouse, displayed no reaction as the verdicts were read. She was ordered held without bail. After the jury was excused, one of Potter's lawyers buried his head in his hands.

Demonstrators outside the courthouse applauded and cheered.

The maximum penalty for first-degree manslaughter predicated on reckless use/ handling of a firearm is 15 years in prison and/or a $30,000 fine. However, since Potter, 49, has no criminal history, Minnesota sentencing guidelines recommend a sentence roughly between 6 and 8.5 years in prison.

Judge Regina Chu denied a request by Potter's defense lawyers to let her go home before sentencing, citing her deep roots in the community.

"I cannot treat this case any differently than any other case," Chu said.

The former Brooklyn Center police officer was handcuffed and escorted out of the courtroom. Her husband a former police officer, shouted "I love you."

"I love you," she replied.

Sentencing was set for Feb. 18.

Jurors in the trial of the White ex-officer in the fatal shooting of the 20-year-old Black man deliberated about 27 hours since Monday before reaching their verdict.

ORIGINAL REPORT: MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota — The jury has reached an “outcome” in the manslaughter trial of the suburban Minneapolis police officer who killed Black motorist Daunte Wright after she says she mistook her gun for her Taser during a traffic stop.

The jury announced it reached an outcome in Kim Potter’s manslaughter trial on Thursday. A court spokesman says he doesn't know if reaching an outcome means it reached a verdict. The jury began deliberating on Monday.

State sentencing guidelines call for a maximum term of just over seven years in prison for a first-degree manslaughter conviction and four years in prison for a second-degree manslaughter conviction, but prosecutors have said they plan to push for longer sentences for the former Brooklyn Center officer.

Potter, alongside other Brooklyn Center officers, pulled Wright over for expired registration tabs and an air freshener on the rearview mirror in April. When officers discovered he had an outstanding warrant for a gross misdemeanor weapons charge, they tried to arrest him, according to police testimony at the trial.

He resisted and attempted to re-enter his vehicle when Potter shot him. He then drove away, crashing shortly after, police testified.

Potter's defense team has maintained that Wright's death was an accident throughout the trial. They said Potter mistakenly grabbed her gun instead of her stun gun, but that she was within her rights to use deadly force because Wright may have hurt another officer.

Prosecutors said the 26-year veteran and training officer should not have reached for her stun gun in the first place. They assert that she was reckless and negligent in her actions.

Potter testified in her own defense, sobbing on the witness stand as she recalled the events of the April 11 shooting.

"I'm sorry," Potter said. "I didn't want to hurt anybody."

Article Topic Follows: Crime

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