MINNEAPOLIS ( Associated Press) – The juror who convicted Minnesota police officer Kim Potter of manslaughter in the murder of Dount Wright says the jury thought she made an honest mistake when she pulled out her firearm instead of a stun gun, but she is still responsible for his death.
The jury spoke to KARE-TV reporter Lou Raguse on condition of anonymity due to what the channel described as “public hostility” around the case. He published the article on Wednesday.
The jury said that no one believed Potter was racist or intended to kill Wright, but that doesn’t mean she was above the law.
“I don’t want to speak on behalf of all the jury, but I think we considered her a good person and even considered her a good police officer,” the jury said. “Nobody thought that she did it on purpose. It’s ludicrous that some people assume we thought she was racist. It never crossed my mind or anything. We felt that she was a good person, we felt that she made a mistake, and that the mistake does not absolve you from the fact that she committed a crime.
“A good person does not mean that you are above the law. I don’t think anyone felt that she wanted to kill someone that day. … It was all just a tragedy. “
Potter shot and killed 20-year-old Wright in April when he tried to drive away from a stop in Brooklyn Center, a suburb of Minneapolis.
Potter, a 26-year-old city police veteran, said she intended to use the stun gun on Wright, but did not realize that she had actually pulled out and fired the pistol. Wright was black, and the shooting occurred when another white officer, Derek Choven, stood trial in nearby Minneapolis for the murder of George Floyd. This sparked a wave of angry protests at the Brooklyn Center.
Potter, 49, retired from the police two days after the shooting. The prosecutor’s office charged her with first and second degree manslaughter. Wright spoke at the trial, saying that she was sorry for what happened, and at the bus stop “there was just chaos.”
The jury sat for 27 hours over four days before finding her guilty on both counts on December 23. She faces about seven years in prison in accordance with Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines, although prosecutors said they would seek a longer sentence.
The jury told KARE-TV Ragusa that the jury didn’t think Potter lied in the stands, but instead thought she was fighting for her life. But the jury generally believed that Potter should have known she was carrying a pistol, not a stun gun, given her years of police experience. The juror said the turning point in the discussions came when the jury picked up Potter’s stun gun and pistol and felt the difference.
“The pistol was about twice as heavy, and the two weapons had several differences in how they were holstered and fired,” the juror said. “The taser feels like a mouse click, while the (pistol) trigger has some pull on the trigger.”
The juror said Potter’s lawyers seemed disorganized. The jury dismissed their argument that Wright caused his own death by resisting.
“We did talk about Dount’s actions, but we, as the jury, did a really good job of separating his actions from those of Kim Potter,” the jury said. “Daunte’s actions clearly had consequences. So is Kim Potter. “
The juror said that from time to time the discussions heated up and the discussions went in circles. Almost every juror cried at some point.
“Once we came to the final verdict. … … we still had to wait an hour and a half until it was read, ”the jury said. “So for the last hour and a half, I finally allowed myself to think about the consequences of this tragedy. Obviously, we were thinking about what it meant for the Downt Wright family, but now I started thinking about what it meant for the Kim Potter family. ”
Find full coverage of the Dunte Wright case at Associated Press: https://apnews.com/hub/death-of-daunte-wright