Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Anonymous jury orders ex-cop in Don’t Wright’s death

by Steve Karnowski

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – A judge ordered Tuesday that jurors for the case against a former suburban Minneapolis police officer charged in Dunte Wright’s death must remain anonymous.

Former Brooklyn Center officer Kim Potter, who is white, fatally shot Wright, a 20-year-old black motorist, on April 11. She is due to go on trial on November 30 on charges of second-degree murder. The city’s former police chief said he believed Potter meant to use his taser instead of his handgun.

Hennepin County Judge Regina Chu ruled Tuesday that court staff and attorneys involved in the case would not disclose names or other identifying information about jurors and substitutes except for a very limited number of people. She said the court would not release the jurors’ names and contact information until sometime after the hearing. Jury members in court will be referred only on the basis of their number.

Under Chu’s orders, representatives would keep people away from the jury during the trial during the day, and they would be completely isolated during deliberations.

Lita Walker, an attorney for a coalition of news media organizations that includes The Associated Press, said the anonymity restrictions are similar to those imposed by Judge Peter Cahill during this year’s murder trial of former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin, those who were convicted. George Floyd’s death. Judge Katherine Kwantens also put him on trial for the 2019 murder of former Minneapolis officer Mohamed Noor, who was convicted in the death of Justin Ruszyk Daimond.

The media coalition last week asked Cahill to release the names of the Chauvin jurors, saying there was no known security threat to warrant keeping the names sealed.

“It seems that Hennepin County judges believe there is reason to have an anonymous jury whenever we are prosecuting a former police officer,” Walker said in an interview. “It’s a disturbing trend. I don’t think it’s in line with the transparency requirements of our criminal justice system, and I think the media here will be evaluating their options to ensure that both the press and the public are aware of the administration of justice.” to be fully monitored.

Chu denied media requests to broadcast, livestream and record proceedings at Potter’s trial last week, saying the public and media would have enough space to watch the trial in the courtroom or in designated overflow rooms.

Under Minnesota court rules, audio and video coverage of a criminal trial is generally withheld unless all parties consent. Potter did not.

Chauvin’s trial, Minnesota’s first criminal case to allow gave-to-gavel coverage, was broadcast and livestreamed. But Chu said Potter’s case does not present the same exceptional circumstances, including the unknown and at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need to maintain social distancing, intense public and media interest, and security concerns. .

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Get full coverage of AP’s Dante Wright death: https://apnews.com/hub/death-of-daunte-wright

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This story has been corrected to reflect that Potter has been charged with second-degree murder, not second-degree murder.

Nation World News Desk
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