Former Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, police officer Kim Potter grew emotional and even sobbed in the courtroom Friday as she recounted the series of events that led her to shoot and kill 20-year-old Daunte Wright.
Potter faces counts of first- and second-degree manslaughter stemming from the April incident, though she is pleading not guilty to the charges. Both the prosecution and defense agree that the shooting was an accident, and that Potter meant to draw and use her Taser as opposed to her gun.
Potter, who resigned following the shooting, was training rookie officer Anthony Luckey when they pulled over Wright over an air freshener hanging from Wright’s rearview mirror and an expired registration, according to The New York Times.
However, after running Wright’s license, the officers discovered there was a warrant out for his arrest due to a missed court date on a gun charge. This prompted police to consider the possibility that Wright had a firearm in his possession, Potter testified, though that turned out not to be the case.
“A weapons violation warrant would be cause for care and concern,” she said, according to NPR.
Luckey called for backup, and a third officer, Sgt. Mychal Johnson, arrived on the scene to help Potter and Luckey arrest Wright.
Wright got out of his car, but returned to the driver’s seat after Luckey tried to handcuff him. “In the chaotic seconds that followed, the videos show Luckey struggled with Wright as Johnson leaned in through the passenger side door in an attempt to prevent Wright from driving away,” NPR reported.
Potter testified that she intended to pull out her Taser and use it to subdue Wright, but instead accidentally drew her gun and shot him.
“It just went chaotic,” Potter testified.
“I remember yelling ‘Taser! Taser! Taser!’ and nothing happened, and then he told me I shot him,” she added, growing more emotional as she spoke until she eventually started sobbing.
As Insider reported, Potter also started crying as police body-camera footage of the incident was played for the jury.
According to the outlet: “The former cop appeared so visibly shaken that Hennepin County Judge Regina Chu called a break for lunch. ”
Potter said that as Johnson leaned into Wright’s car prior to the shooting in an attempt to stop him from driving away, the officer had “a look of fear on his face — it’s nothing I’ve seen before.”
The defense has argued that Potter’s use of her gun was justified because Johnson’s safety was at stake amid the chaotic series of events.