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Kim Potter trial updates: Jury begins deliberations

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(NEW YORK) — The trial of former Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kim Potter charged in the death of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man who was fatally shot during a traffic stop, continues with Potter taking the stand to testify in her own defense.

Potter, 49, is charged with first-degree and second-degree manslaughter in the April 11 incident. She has pleaded not guilty to both charges.

The maximum sentence for first-degree manslaughter is 15 years and a $30,000 fine and for second-degree manslaughter, it’s 10 years and a $20,000 fine.

Wright’s death reignited protests against racism and police brutality across the U.S., as the killing took place just outside of Minneapolis, where the trial of Derek Chauvin, a former officer who was convicted of murdering George Floyd, was taking place.

Latest headlines:
-Closing arguments begin
-‘I didn’t want to hurt anybody,’ Potter testifies
-Prosecution questions Kim Potter on training
-Kim Potter takes the stand
-New body-cam footage shows Potter moments after shooting Wright
-Daunte Wright’s mother recalls final phone call with son

Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern.

Dec 20, 8:27 pm
Jury ends deliberations for the day

The jury has ended deliberations for the day after approximately five hours. They will resume Tuesday morning.

During these deliberations, the jury is fully sequestered. They will be allowed to call family members so long as they don’t talk about the trial.

Dec 20, 5:09 pm
Jury asks about psychologist’s interview with Potter

Jurors collectively asked the judge what the date was of Kim Potter’s interview with Dr. Laurence Miller, a psychologist who served as a defense witness.

“All the evidence is in,” Judge Regina Chu told the jury. “So you should rely on your collective memory as to what the evidence is.”

Miller interviewed Potter after the April 11 fatal shooting of Daunte Wright.

Prosecutors wanted to question Miller about the interview, but Chu sustained the defense’s objection against the line of questioning.

The interview was brought up by the prosecution in the cross-examination of Potter on the witness stand.

Prosecutor Erin Eldridge asked Potter about the differences between her answers in her interview with Miller and her testimony on the stand.

Eldridge asked Potter why she told Miller she didn’t know why she decided to use her stun gun, when she testified before the jury that she used it because she saw fear on an accompanying officer’s face.

Eldridge also asked Potter about telling Miller that she saw her gun in her right hand during the incident, though Potter testified that she did not remember much about the incident.

“I was distraught,” Potter responded. “I wasn’t in a good place.”

Eldridge also asked Potter about her resignation following the shooting, in which Potter told Miller that she did it to “protect her police family.”

Dec 20, 2:04 pm
Jury deliberations begin

Judge Regina Chu has read the instructions to the jury and they will now deliberate on the charges of first- and second-degree manslaughter against former Brooklyn Center officer Kim Potter.

Included in the instructions are reminders of unconscious bias: “We all have feelings, assumptions, perceptions, fears, and stereotypes about others,” Chu read to the jury. “Some biases we are aware of and others we might not be fully aware of, which is why they are called ‘implicit’ or ‘unconscious biases."”

“The law demands that you make a fair decision, based solely on the evidence, your individual evaluations of that evidence, your reason and common sense, and these instructions,” Chu read from the instructions.

Dec 20, 1:47 pm
Prosecution, defense spar on Sgt. Mychal Johnson’s testimony

In closing arguments, the defense said that Kim Potter was within her rights to use deadly force against Daunte Wright because he could have hurt another police officer with his car.

The defense claims Wright could have driven off, dragging Sgt. Mychal Johnson.

“What would have happened to Johnson? The worst would be death if he took off like he did — like a jet,” defense attorney Earl Gray said.

“[Potter] said she saw Johnson, that she saw him and he had a look on his face she’d never seen,” Gray added. “That was right before she said ‘Taser, Taser."”

The prosecution argues there is no evidence that shows Potter was using force for Johnson’s protection or that Johnson was afraid for his life.

“Johnson was clearly not afraid of being dragged,” said prosecutor Matthew Frank. He never said he was scared. He didn’t say it then. And he didn’t testify to it in court.”

Prosecutors said Johnson wasn’t halfway into the car at the time of the shooting, and that he was “all the way over to the passenger side securing Mr. Wright’s right arm.”

Prosecutors also pointed to Potter’s reaction after the shooting, when she sobbed on the ground and said she would be going to jail in the body camera footage.

“When Sergeant Johnson said ‘he was trying to drive away with me in the car,’ which isn’t even true, but he offered that to her and she didn’t even bite on it,” Frank told jurors. “She was so caught up in recognition of the wrongfulness of her own conduct.”

 

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