The fatal shooting of a 20-year-old Black man named Daunte Wright by a White police officer outside Minneapolis has prompted protests and clashes with law enforcement.
Wright was killed by Officer Kim Potter during a routine traffic stop in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, according to police.
Potter has been charged with second-degree manslaughter, according to a news release from Washington County Attorney Pete Orput’s office.
The shooting and the demonstrations occurred about 10 miles from the Minneapolis courtroom where former officer Derek Chauvin is on trial in the death of George Floyd last year.
The killing Sunday was at least the third high-profile death of a Black man during a police encounter in the Minneapolis area in the past five years, after the shooting of Philando Castile in Falcon Heights in 2016 and the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last May.
Here is what we know about Potter:
Former chief: Shooting was accidental
Former Police Chief Tim Gannon, who submitted his resignation Tuesday, said the portion of body-worn camera footage released Monday led him to believe the shooting was accidental and that the officer’s actions before the shooting were consistent with the department’s training on Tasers.
Gannon said “the officer had the intention to deploy their Taser, but instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet.” The fatal shooting appeared to be “an accidental discharge,” he said.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension examined Potter’s duty belt and found her handgun is holstered on the right side of her belt, while the Taser is on the left side, according to a news release from Orput’s office.
Citing a criminal complaint, the release said the Taser is yellow with a black grip and is set in a straight-draw position, “meaning Potter would have to use her left hand to pull the Taser out of its holster.”
She is a 26-year police veteran
Potter, 48, was with the Brooklyn Center Police Department for 26 years, according to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. She joined the department in 1995, according to the Star Tribune newspaper in Minneapolis.
She served as the police union’s president in 2019, had been on the department’s negotiation team and worked as field training officer, the Tribune reported.
She was placed on administrative leave after Sunday’s shooting.
The BCA said additional personnel information is not public under state law during the investigation of the shooting.
A county attorney’s report states this was not Potter’s first time dealing with the aftermath of a police officer shooting someone. In 2019, police fatally shot a man who was threatening his grandfather with a knife and hammer. The use of deadly force by police in that incident was ruled lawful, the report states.
In accordance with Brooklyn Center Police Department policies, Potter – who not present at the time of the shooting – gave instructions to the two officers involved in the shooting to get into different police cars, turn off their body cameras and not speak to each other.
Potter was not accused of any wrongdoing in this instance.
She submitted a resignation letter
Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott told CNN on Tuesday that Potter submitted a letter of resignation.
In a letter to Elliott, acting City Manager Reggie Edwards and then Gannon, Potter wrote that she “loved every minute of being a police officer and serving this community to the best of my ability.”
Elliott said Potter decided on her own to resign. “We did not ask her to resign. That was a decision she made,” he said.
At a news conference by Elliott, people in the room voiced concerns that Potter resigned and was not fired. The mayor said he has “not accepted her resignation” and that his office is continuing to review the matter.
“We’re doing our internal process to make sure that we are being accountable to the steps that we need to take,” Elliott told reporters.
Potter is still entitled to benefits following her resignation, though it is not clear what those benefits are, Edwards said Wednesday.
Potter attorney also represents officer in Floyd case
Earl Gray, a St. Paul-based attorney, told CNN he is representing Potter.
Gray is also the attorney for Thomas Lane, one of the four officers involved in Floyd’s death who faces criminal charges. He was also a defense attorney for Jeronimo Yanez, the former St. Anthony, Minnesota, police officer who was found not guilty of second-degree manslaughter for the fatal shooting of Castile.
Gray on Monday said he had no further comment on the shooting.