Prosecutors who secured former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s murder conviction in George Floyd’s killing are taking over the case against Kim Potter, the ex-cop charged for fatally shooting Daunte Wright 10 miles away from where Floyd died.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced on Friday that he will be taking on the prosecution of Potter, a former Brooklyn Center officer who apparently mistook a gun for a Taser and shot Wright at a traffic stop in April. Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank, the presenting attorney in Chauvin’s trial, will ‘supervise the case’ and ‘actively assist’.
Wright’s death last month in the midst of Chauvin’s trial for the death of Floyd ‘was a tragedy’, Ellison said in a statement.
‘He should not have died on the day that he did. He should not have died the way that he did. His parents, brothers, sisters, and friends must now live the rest of their lives without him. His son, only two years old, will grow up without his father,’ Ellison stated. ‘I have privately expressed my condolences and sorrow to the family and expect to work with them closely throughout the proceedings.’
Ellison added that he ‘did not seek this prosecution and do not accept it lightly’.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman requested that Ellison’s office take charge of the case after the Washington County Attorney’s Office, which charged Potter, returned it to Freeman.
Ellison stated: ‘I promise the Wright family and all Minnesotans that I will handle this prosecution responsibly and consistent with the law, and that I will be guided by the values of accountability and transparency.’
Potter, a white officer who served for 26 years, is charged with second-degree manslaughter. Body camera footage showed her yelling ‘Taser!’ several times before shooting Wright, 20, with a handgun. Wright was pulled over on April 11 over expired tags and an outstanding warrant.
On Monday, Hennepin County Judge Regina Chu found probable cause to support charges against Potter and her trial date has been set for December 6.
A jury on April 20 found Chauvin guilty of all three charges against him: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.