Minnesota AG Adds First-Degree Manslaughter Charge Against Cop Who Killed Daunte Wright
22:20 GMT 02.09.2021 (Updated: 17:31 GMT 22.01.2023)
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison added a first-degree manslaughter charge to the complaint against former police officer Kimberly Potter who shot and killed Daunte Wright in April, it was announced Thursday.
"Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison today filed an amended complaint in the case of State v. Kimberly Potter. The amended complaint adds an additional charge of manslaughter in the first degree, while retaining the original charge of manslaughter in the second degree," Ellison’s office said in a statement.
The complaint alleges that Potter committed manslaughter in the first degree when she fatally shot and killed Wright, a 20-year old black man, while recklessly handling a firearm that she mistook for a taser during a traffic stop.
After conducting a review of the case, Ellison determined that an upgraded first-degree manslaughter charge is warranted in addition to the initial second-degree manslaughter charge Potter faces.
The maximum sentence for first-degree manslaughter amounts to 15 years behind bars and a $30,000 fine. A second-degree charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
The latest developments came months after Ellison took over the case in May, and had announced that he would be conducting a more thorough review to determine whether more charges were warranted. The review included consultations with experts on police use of force.
Body camera footage of the April interaction between Potter and Wright showed the officer yelling out the word "taser" before ultimately firing her department-issued firearm. Since the shooting, Potter has maintained that she intended to grab her stun gun.
The incident prompted widespread outrage in the US, with many critics pointing out that department-issued stun guns and firearms have entirely different bodies in order to help officers immediately tell the weapons apart. In fact, stun guns have a bright yellow covering.
Both Potter and Brooklyn Center Police Department Chief Tim Gannon resigned shortly after the fatal traffic stop. At the time, Gannon had defended Potter's fatal misstep.