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US Cop Who Mistook Her Gun for a Taser is Found Guilty of Manslaughter

For the fatal shooting of a black driver in April, a veteran former Minnesota police officer was convicted guilty of manslaughter.

Kim Potter, 49, claims she murdered 20-year-old Daunte Wright during a traffic check when she accidentally pulled her revolver instead of a Taser.

His killing occurred during a period of heightened emotions, while the trial for the murder of George Floyd was taking place nearby.

The date for Ms Potter’s sentencing has been set for February 18th.

The 12 jurors debated for almost 27 hours over the course of four days before convicting her on both charges.

First-degree manslaughter is the allegation leveled against Ms Potter in circumstances when the criminal kills someone while attempting to accomplish a lesser crime.

Prosecutors accused Ms Potter of murdering Mr Wright as a consequence of her “reckless” handling of a pistol in her case.

The second charge, second-degree manslaughter, is applied when a death occurs as a result of carelessness or the taking of an unjustifiable risk.

The first charge is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $30,000 (£22,000). The second charge carries a maximum sentence of ten years in jail and a $20,000 fine.

Ms Potter kept her head down as the decision was announced, only looking at the jury briefly when her two attorneys placed their hands on her shoulders.

Ms Potter was subsequently brought into jail and kept without bail until her sentence, according to Judge Regina Chu.

According to court reporters, one of her relatives shouted “love you Kim” as she was detained, to which she answered “love you.”

A mob of protestors rejoiced outside the courthouse, with some yelling Mr Wright’s name and “the people can never be beaten.”

Mr Wright’s mother, Katie, told reporters that when the decision was announced, she felt “every single feeling you can imagine,” adding that it had been a “long journey for responsibility.”

The guilty conviction “shows the whole world” that people who execute the law “are also ready to live by it,” according to Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison.

Mr Ellison continued, “My sympathies are also with Ms Potter today,” adding that she was “remorseful” and wanting “the best for her and her family.”

“But, regardless of what occurs, she will be able to communicate with them. The Wrights will be unable to communicate with Daunte.”

Police officers are “extremely seldom” held legally liable for killings that occur in the course of duty, according to Ayesha Bell Hardaway, an associate law professor at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio and co-director of the Social Justice Institute.

Ms Potter’s conviction, she added, may send a strong message to law enforcement agencies across the country.

“Because the repercussions are so serious, it’s virtually axiomatic that an officer should be held to the same standard as the rest of us for irresponsible behavior,” she said. “However, there is no going back for the Wrights.”

Brian Cooper
Brian Cooper
Brian Cooper is a global reporter for TheOptic, focusing on bringing insights and developments for global and local breaking news daily. With almost seven years of experience covering topics from all over the world, Brian strives to make sure you stay up-to-date with what's going on in the world.
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