Protesters gather at Brooklyn Center police headquarters for a fourth night

Ruben Fields
April 15, 2021

A white former police officer faces her first court appearance over the fatal shooting of a black motorist in a suburb of Minneapolis, igniting four straight days of bitter conflict between protesters and officers.

In her one-paragraph letter of resignation, Potter said, "I have loved every minute of being a police officer and serving this community to the best of my ability, but I believe it is in the best interest of the community, the department, and my fellow officers if I resign immediately".

Potter posted $100,000 bond Wednesday evening and was released from the Hennepin County jail, online records showed.

The Washington County Attorney's office was expected to file the charge against her later on Wednesday.

To convict Potter of second-degree manslaughter under Minnesota law, prosecutors must show that she was "culpably negligent" and took an "unreasonable risk" in her actions against Wright.

Intent isn't a necessary component of second-degree manslaughter in Minnesota.

City Police Chief Jim Gannon, who also resigned on Tuesday, has said the shooting appeared to have been accidental.

Acting city manager Reggie Edwards said because Potter resigned, she is entitled to "all accrual and benefits that is due".

Ms. Potter, 48, worked for the Police Department for 26 years and was training other officers on Sunday afternoon when they pulled Mr. Wright's auto over.

Authorities say the officers discovered there was a warrant out for his arrest.

Police bodycam footage showed an officer trying to cuff Wright next to the vehicle.

A protester holds up a sign outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department April 14, 2021, days after former police officer Kim Potter fatally shot Daunte Wright, in Brooklyn Center, Minn.

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"I'll Tase you! I'll Tase you! Taser! Taser!" before firing a single shot from a handgun in her right hand.

The news release announcing the charge noted that Potter holstered her handgun on the right side and her Taser on the left. To remove the Taser - which is yellow and has a black grip - Potter would have to use her left hand, the complaint said.

"Michelle and I grieve alongside the Wright family for their loss", Mr Obama said in the statement.

"Kim Potter executed Daunte for what amounts to no more than a minor traffic infraction and a misdemeanour warrant", he said.

Potter is at least the third U.S. law enforcement officer to face charges after claiming they mistakenly killed someone with a gun when they meant to use a Taser.

"A so-called mistake? A handgun for a Taser?"

Brooklyn Center had a 10 p.m. curfew Wednesday, the fourth night in a row that the city has taken that action.

Earlier in the day the families of Wright and Floyd came together to demand an end to police brutality and the killing of unarmed African Americans by white officers.

Since Sunday, hundreds of protesters have gathered outside the police station to protest police violence toward Black people.

Concrete blocks and fences were erected around Potter's family home north of Brooklyn Center, with police vehicles patrolling the streets after protesters threatened to attack the property. That set off confrontations, with protesters launching fireworks toward the station and throwing objects at officers, who launched flashbangs and gas grenades, then marched in a line to force back the crowd.

The shooting escalated tensions in a region already on edge over the ongoing trial of the former Minneapolis police officer charged with murder in the use of deadly force against George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man suspected of passing a bogus $20 bill, last May.

Brooklyn Center, a suburb just north of Minneapolis, has seen its racial demographics shift dramatically in recent years.

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