Home LATEST NEWS The trial of the American policewoman who killed Daunte Wright is open

The trial of the American policewoman who killed Daunte Wright is open

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Kim Potter, 49, is on trial for manslaughter. On April 11, 2021, this veteran agent killed 20-year-old Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, a suburb of this large city in the northern United States.

The drama had received a lot of attention, as it had arisen during the trial of white policeman Derek Chauvin who, in May 2020 in Minneapolis, asphyxiated George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man. The ordeal of the forties had given rise to huge anti-racist demonstrations around the world.

Almost a year later, the death of Daunte Wright had rekindled tensions in Minneapolis and protests peppered with violence had taken place several nights in a row. Kim Potter’s arrest brought calm, but the city remained on edge until Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 22 years in prison.

The policewoman’s trial takes place in the shadow of this historical precedent: it takes place in the same court, with the same prosecutors and certain joint lawyers.

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Lawyers take the floor

Kim Potter's forensic photo.

Policewoman Kim Potter is charged with the manslaughter of Daunte Wright.

Photo: Reuters / HENNEPIN COUNTY SHERIFF

After ten days devoted to the selection of the jury, which consists of only one black person, the debates began with the presentation of the main lines of the prosecution and the defense.

The facts are not disputed: Kim Potter and two colleagues had stopped the car of Daunte Wright for a banal traffic control. After realizing that he was subject to an arrest warrant for a weapons offense, they decided to arrest him.

The young man, who was unarmed, had tried to flee. To dissuade him, Kim Potter had drawn what she thought was his electric pistol. On a recording of the scene, we hear her scream Taser several times, before firing.

She is not prosecuted for intentional homicide, Prosecutor Erin Eldridge pointed out at the outset, but it’s not about of an unfortunate mistake. This dossier concerns the careless handling of a weapon, the neglect of the risk by a policewoman with 26 years of experience, she asserted.

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Kim potter did what she had to do to protect a coworker who risked being swept away by Daunte Wright’s car, retorted his lawyer Paul Engh. Under the effect stress, she made a mistake, it was an accident. He is a human being, he added, comparing her to a surgeon who, after 100 operations, can still be wrong.

The policewoman should be called to the witness stand in a few days. The verdict is expected by the end of the year.

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