Former Minnesota police officer charged with Wright’s death appears on trial

© Reuters. Kim Potter poses for a booking photo in Hennepin County Jail

(Reuters) – The former Minnesota police officer charged with manslaughter in the fatal shooting of a 20-year-old black woman while in traffic obstruction first appeared in court Thursday when the family demanded “full accountability” for his death.

Kim Potter, wearing a plaid shirt, confirmed her presence during a brief online hearing and waved to the judge from a table in her attorney’s office. Potter, 48, was not asked questions about the shootings or their intended request.

Hennepin County Judge Paul Scoggin set the next court date May 17 and ordered Potter not to use firearms or explosives for a period of $ 100,000.

By accusing Potter of second degree manslaughter, prosecutors will seek to show that she was “culpably negligent” and took an “unreasonable risk” when she shot Wright in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center on Sunday.

If convicted, the white Potter faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of $ 20,000.

Prior to the hearing, the Wright family and their lawyers gathered at the church in Minneapolis, where his funeral will be held next Thursday, to remember the father of a two-year-old son and to press for an aggressive persecution of Potter.

“For the past few days everyone has been asking me what we want to see,” said Wright’s mother Katie. “I want accountability, 100% accountability … But even if that happens, we will bury our son if that happens.”

Potter’s attorney, Earl Gray, did not respond to a request for comment.

The police video of the shootout shows Potter threatening to stun Wright with her taser before firing her pistol. Former police chief Tim Gannon, who also resigned Tuesday, said she mistakenly used her service weapon in place of her taser.

In the video, Potter can be heard screaming: “Taser, Taser, Taser!” when she draws her gun and opens fire on Wright in his car after he has just retired from a fellow officer.

Then you hear her say, “Holy shit, I just shot him.”

Benjamin Crump, attorney for the Wright family, said the shooting reflected a broader law enforcement problem in the United States, which uses excessive force and tends to “monitor marginalized minorities, particularly black men.”

But Crump said the move to indict Potter also represented some progress after there had been no prosecution in recent years of officials involved in the deaths of black men like Eric Garner and Michael Brown.

“All this family aspires to is full accountability and equal justice. Nothing more, nothing less,” Crump said at the meeting at the New Salem Missionary Baptist Church.

The shooting escalated tension in a region already tense over the ongoing murder trial of white former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on the verge of the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, in May 2020.

Hundreds of protesters gathered outside Brooklyn Center Police Headquarters for a fourth night on Wednesday. About two dozen people were arrested, including for violating the curfew. The protests were smaller and more peaceful than on Tuesday evening when 72 people were arrested, police said.

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