A jury pushed through its third day of deliberations on Wednesday without a verdict in the trial of a suburban Minneapolis police officer who shot and killed Don’t Wright, a black motorist.
The court did not question the jury in Kim Potter’s trial, a day after the jury asked Judge Regina Chu what to do if they could not agree and she asked them to continue deliberating. They got the matter around 1 pm on Monday.
The potter, who is white, said that she wanted to use her Taser on Wright instead of her gun. He has been charged with first- and second-degree murder. If convicted of the most serious charge, 49-year-old Potter would face a sentence of about seven years under state guidelines, though prosecutors have said they will ask for more.
The judge ordered that the mostly white jury be set aside during the deliberations – meaning that the jurors remain under court supervision at an undisclosed hotel and cannot return home until they reach a verdict. Or the judge determined they couldn’t reach one.
However, Chu told the jurors at the start of the trial that he would have a holiday on Christmas Eve and Christmas weekend. She has not indicated that she will change that plan if discussions continue.
“I think the leave will pressure them to agree,” Minneapolis defense attorney Joe Friedberg, who is not involved in the case but is pursuing it, said Wednesday.
The jurors also asked Chu on Tuesday if they could handle the officer’s weapon, and he said yes. Prosecutors had told jurors that they would be able to handle both Potter’s gun and Taser, but the gun arrived in the jury room and was secured in an evidence box with zip ties.
During closing arguments, prosecutors accused Potter of a “mistake of epic proportions” in Wright’s death in an April 11 traffic stop – but said the mistake was no defense.
Potter’s attorneys counter that Wright, who was attempting to get away from officers as they sought to handcuff him to an outstanding warrant on weapons charges, “caused the whole incident.”
Wright’s death sparked angry protests in the Brooklyn Center, as did the nearby Minneapolis shores over the trial of Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd.
Potter, who resigned two days after Wright’s death, testified on Friday that she “doesn’t want to hurt anyone” and told her “sorry, it happened.”
Chu told the jurors that the state did not need to prove that Potter tried to kill Wright.
The judge said that for first-degree murder, prosecutors must prove that Potter caused Wright’s death while committing the crime of reckless operation of a firearm. means that he must prove that he has committed a conscious or intentional act when handling or using a firearm that poses a substantial or unreasonable risk that he was aware of and disregarded, and That he had put his safety at risk.
For second-degree murder, prosecutors must prove that he acted negligently, meaning he intentionally took the chance of death or major bodily harm.
Bauer reported from Madison, Wisconsin. Associated Press writer Kathleen Foodie in Chicago contributed to this story.
Get full coverage of Associated Press’s Daunte Wright case: https://apnews.com/hub/death-of-daunte-wright