The Minnesota cop who ‘accidentally’ shot Daunte Wright was seen for the first time since she was released from jail on $100,000 bond in exclusive photos taken by DailyMail.com.
Former Brooklyn Center Police officer Kimberley Potter, 48, appeared tired and strained Thursday as she was spotted being driven away from her lawyer Earl Gray’s office in St Paul, Minnesota by husband Jeffrey, 54, on Thursday.
Potter was at the legal office in downtown St Paul for her first court appearance at Hennepin County District Court after being charged a day earlier with second-degree manslaughter over Wright’s death.
The 10-minute hearing took place over Zoom with Potter only speaking to confirm her name and address. She did not enter a plea to the charge, which carries a maximum 10-year sentence.
Former Brooklyn Center Police officer Kimberley Potter, 48, was seen on Thursday for the first time since she was released from Hennepin County Jail on $100,000 bond
The mother-of-two appeared strained as she left her lawyer’s office in St Paul, Minnesota, with her husband Jeff, following her first court hearing at Hennepin County District Court
Potter, a 26-year veteran of the force, is charged with second-degree manslaughter after ‘accidentally’ shooting 20-year-old black man Daunte Wright
Earlier, Gray had filed a motion to stop the proceedings, which saw disheveled Potter seated at a table wearing a plaid shirt, from being broadcast or livestreamed.
The court agreed with his motion and he waived the right to have the charges against his client read out.
Along with Potter, Gray also represents former cop Thomas Lane who is facing charges of aiding and abetting murder in the George Floyd case.
Potter is believed to be staying at an address in East St Paul and has been keeping a low profile there since fleeing her Champlin home on Monday night.
She has been joined by her two sons Nicholas and Samuel and was driven to and from today’s brief hearing by husband Jeff – himself a former cop.
Her five-bedroom home remains barricaded and the quiet suburban street it sits in closed off.
The married mom-of-two was taken into custody around 11.30am local time Wednesday by Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) agents in St. Paul and booked into Hennepin County jail just after midday.
Potter was driven to and from today’s brief hearing by husband Jeff, 54 – himself a former cop
She is believed to be staying at an address in East St Paul and has been keeping a low profile there since fleeing her Champlin home on Monday night
The married mother-of-two left her home in Minneapolis Monday with her 54-year-old husband Jeffrey and their sons Sam and Nick after her address was posted on social media
Potter, a white veteran police officer, shot dead 20-year-old Daunte Wright (pictured with his son), during a traffic stop in Minneapolis on Sunday after allegedly confusing her gun for a taser
She was released just over five hours later after posting a $100,000 bond. Her next court date was set for May 17 for her preliminary hearing.
Moments before her first court appearance, Wright’s family held an emotional press conference with their attorney Ben Crump where they held up pictures of a bright yellow taser and a Glock handgun and questioned how the veteran cop could have confused the two devices.
The veteran officer, who has worked for the department for 26 years but allegedly confused her gun for a taser, resigned from the force Tuesday as protests erupted in the city demanding justice for Wright.
Demonstrations entered their fourth night Wednesday with one protester branding Potter’s actions ‘an act of war’ while others brandished a pig’s head in a police hat, as law enforcement declared the rally unlawful.
Before her first court appearance, Wright’s family held an emotional press conference with attorney Ben Crump (above) where he held up pictures of a bright yellow taser and a Glock handgun and questioned how the veteran cop could have confused the two devices
Wright’s mother Katie (pictured with his father Arbery) said she wants her son’s killer to face ‘100 percent accountability’ for her actions but said ‘justice’ can never be achieved for her
Crump, who is also representing the family of Floyd, said they were ‘heartened’ by the charges against Wright’s killer but cast doubt on Potter’s alleged ‘accidental discharge’ of her handgun instead of her taser.
‘You see – a gun, a taser, a Glock 17 and a taser,’ said Crump as he held aloft images of the two devices, similar to those Potter was armed with when she shot Wright.
‘It is very difficult for this family to accept that this was an accident when you have a veteran on the police force for 26 years,’ he said.
Crump said Wright’s mother was ‘joining a sorority that no mother wants to be a part of’ that includes the mothers of Eric Garner, Michael Brown and other black people killed by cops.
He said neither of their families ‘got their day in court’ with ‘no accountability for the police who killed them’.
‘The only question that we have before us today is will Daunte Wright’s name join that list of black people in America who have been unjustly killed by the police who did not have the police held accountable?’ he asked.
Crump said the charges against the cop are a sign that ‘we are starting to see a change in America’.
Minneapolis is ‘ground zero for that change’, he added, as he demanded ‘accountability to the highest level’ for Wright’s family.
Wright’s mother Katie said she wants her son’s killer to face ‘100 percent accountability’ for her actions but said ‘justice’ can never be achieved for her.
‘The last few days everyone has asked me what we want what we want to happen and everyone says justice,’ she said.
‘But unfortunately there’s never going to be justice for us. Justice would be to bring our son home to us, knocking on the door with his big smile coming in the house, sitting down eating dinner with us, going out to lunch, playing with his one-year-old, almost-two-year-old son, giving them a kiss before he walks out the door.’
She added: ‘So justice isn’t even a word to me.’
Katie, who broke down in tears during the briefing, told reporters it ‘was so sad’ to hear of her son’s connection to Floyd – as Floyd’s girlfriend revealed this week she had been a teacher of Wright’s.
Wright’s aunt Naisha Wright choked back tears as she also waved the images of a taser and firearm and asked: ‘Y’all see the difference? This is a taser, this is a taser.
Potter’s house is blocked by security barricades in Champlin, Minnesota, Wednesday
Potter’s home guarded by law enforcement and fencing as protesters demand justice for Wright and his family
‘But no my nephew was killed with this – a Glock.’
She urged people remember her nephew and keep attention on his case.
‘Our family is hurting, our blood has been spilled and all we ask for is just to keep getting his name out there and to help us get something done – a conviction,’ she said.
Naisha questioned whether the same level of justice would be afforded if it was a child of the white cop’s that had been killed.
‘If someone killed her child we wouldn’t even be having this press conference as whoever that would be would be in the jail – can we get that same thing?’ she said.
‘I don’t care what is said what my nephew may have done he was ours. He was a good boy, he was ours.
‘We want the same conviction that anyone of our race or any minority not in our race would get [if they had been the killer].’
Wright’s aunt also drew parallels between Wrights’ arrest and the arrest of Dylann Roof, a white supremacist who shot and killed nine black people in a Charleston church in 2015.
Roof was taken into custody alive and then taken by cops to Burger King for food following the mass shooting.
‘Unfortunately my nephew didn’t get to go to Burger King,’ she said.
Wright’s little sister Destiny, 14, also paid tribute to her brother as the ‘most delightful person I ever met’, while his father Arbery called him a ‘a young man in the making’ who was ‘very loved.’
Police guarded the property Tuesday night and fencing was erected around it that day
‘These young black men being killed can you blame my son for being scared in front of the police,’ he asked.
They were joined at the press conference by Wright’s uncles and Stevante Clark – the brother of Stephon Clark, a 22-year-old black man who was shot dead by two California cops in 2018.
Crump said the incident was a matter of ‘over policing’, something he said disproportionately impacts people of color in America.
‘We still believe that it was over policing. It was an excessive use of force as we have a propensity in America to over police minorities especially black men.’
He compared the treatment of white and black people by law enforcement, pointing to videos online of ‘white men not only resisting police but assaulting and battering police’ and ‘yet the police still don’t shoot those young white men.’
‘Why don’t they deescalate when there’s so many black people who are unarmed?’
Crump compared Wright’s death to the death of Floyd, and said he was ‘outraged’ that another black man was killed by cops amid ‘one of the most important consequential cases in the history of America.’
Crump also drew parallels with the 2017 case of black former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor who fatally shot a white woman Justine Ruszczyk Damond in the alley behind her home after she called 911 to report what she thought was another woman being assaulted.
Noor was convicted of third-degree murder in addition to second-degree manslaughter and sentenced to 12-and-a-half years in prison.
Crump questioned the severity of charges in the case against Noor and the case against Potter who so far only faces one count of second-degree manslaughter.
‘Officer Potter, a white police officer killed an unarmed black man and she is charged with second-degree manslaughter… all this family is asking for is to get equal justice,’ he said.
Washington County Attorney Peter Orput announced the charges against Potter Wednesday afternoon.
Imran Ali, Washington County assistant criminal division chief and director of the Major Crime Unit, said in a statement announcing the charges that the state will ‘vigorously prosecute this case’ against the veteran cop.
‘Certain occupations carry an immense responsibility and none more so than a sworn police officer,’ said Ali.
Naisha Wright (Wright’s aunt) questioned whether the same level of justice would be afforded if it was a child of the white cop’s that had been killed
Crump said Wright’s mother was ‘joining a sorority that no mother wants to be a part of’ that includes the mothers of Eric Garner, Michael Brown and other black people killed by cops
Wright’s little sister Destiny, 14, (center) also paid tribute to her brother as the ‘most delightful person I ever met’
‘With that responsibility comes a great deal of discretion and accountability. We will vigorously prosecute this case and intend to prove that Officer Potter abrogated her responsibility to protect the public when she used her firearm rather than her taser.
‘Her action caused the unlawful killing of Mr. Wright and she must be held accountable.’
Ali and Orput had met with Wright’s family prior to announcing the charges, assuring them ‘we would spare no resources in seeking justice for Mr. Wright,’ said Ali.
Under Minnesota law, a second-degree-murder charge is filed when a person is accused of causing another person’s death through negligence that created an unreasonable risk, and of consciously taking the chance of causing severe injury or death.
If convicted, Potter faces up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
However, sentencing guidelines for someone without a criminal record call for no more than four years behind bars.
Potter’s attorney Gray also represents Thomas Lane, one of the three other cops charged over Floyd’s death whose trial will begin in August.
Gray also worked on the legal team for Jeronimo Yanez, the former cop who was charged over the shooting death of black man Philando Castile during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, in 2016.
Yanez was found not guilty of second-degree manslaughter and two counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm by a jury in 2017.
New details about the fatal shooting were also released by the attorney’s office Wednesday.
Potter had been training a rookie cop, named in the criminal complaint as Brooklyn Center Police Officer Anthony Luckey, Sunday afternoon when she shot Wright dead.
According to the criminal complaint, Luckey and Potter pulled over Wright in his white Buick at 63rd and Orchard Avenues North in Brooklyn Center at 1:53 pm Sunday.
Police previously said Wright, who has a toddler son, was first pulled over for expired license plate tags when he was driving with his girlfriend.
Demonstrators hold signs as they gather near the Brooklyn Center police station on Wednesday
A protester carrying a pigs head on a stake during a fourth night of unrest in Minnesota Wednesday
Demonstrators face off with sheriff deputies during a protest at the Brooklyn Center police station on Wednesday
Luckey ran Wright’s identification and found he had a warrant out for his arrest for a gross misdemeanor weapons charge, the complaint states.
Four minutes later at 2:01:31, Luckey and Potter approached the driver’s side of the car and asked Wright to get out and place his hands behind his back, according to the report.
Wright did as the officers asked and Luckey told him he was being arrested for his outstanding warrant.
Both Wright and Luckey were standing just outside of the open driver’s side door, while Potter was standing behind and to the right of the other officer, the report says.
Seconds later at 2:01:49, Wright reportedly pulled away from the officers and got back into the car, with Luckey trying to maintain physical control of him, according to the complaint.
At 2:01:55, Potter then said she would taser Wright.
Instead, she pulled her Glock 9mm handgun with her right hand and pointed it at Wright, saying again that she would tase him.
Potter shouted ‘Taser, taser, taser,’ as she pulled the trigger on her handgun at 2:02:01, firing one round into the left side of the victim, the complaint states.
Wright immediately said ‘ah, he shot me,’ and drove away in his car before crashing and coming to a stop.
Meanwhile, Potter said ‘S**t, I just shot him!’ after firing her gun.
The entire incident from the traffic stop to the shooting took place within nine minutes.
Wright was pronounced dead at the scene.
Potter (above) was taken into custody around 11:30am local time Wednesday by Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) agents in St. Paul
Investigators learned, after examining Potter’s duty belt, that her handgun was holstered on the right side of her belt and her taser on her left side.
Her taser was yellow with a black grip and was set in a straight-draw position, meaning Potter would have to use her left hand to pull it out of its holster, according to the complaint.
The complaint says she used her right hand to draw her firearm.
Officers are trained to always carry their handgun on their dominant side and taser on their weak side.
It is not yet clear which sides Potter regards as her dominant and weak or whether she had the taser and firearm holstered in the right places.
Crump welcomed the news of Potter’s arrest Wednesday but said ‘no conviction’ could bring back the 20-year-old father-of-one after he was ‘executed’ by the cop.
The attorney , who also represents the family of Floyd and helped them win a $27 million legal settlement against the city, said in a statement that ‘while we appreciate that the district attorney is pursuing justice for Daunte, no conviction can give the Wright family their loved one back.’
He doubled down on the doubts that Wright’s death was an accident calling the black man’s killing ‘intentional, deliberate, and unlawful.’
‘This was no accident. This was intentional, deliberate, and unlawful use of force. Driving while Black continues to result in a death sentence,’ said Crump.
‘A 26-year veteran of the force knows the difference between a taser and a firearm. Kim Potter executed Daunte for what amounts to no more than a minor traffic infraction and a misdemeanor warrant.
Crump compared Wright’s death to the death of Floyd, which took place on Memorial Day just miles from Sunday’s shooting, as well as the deaths of several other black people at the hands of law enforcement in America.
‘Daunte’s life, like George Floyd’s life, like Eric Garner’s, like Breonna Taylor’s, like David Smith’s meant something. But Kim Potter say him as expendable,’ he said.
‘It’s past time for meaningful change in our country. We will keep fighting for justice for Daunte, for his family, and for marginalized minorities.
‘And we will not stop until there is meaningful policing and justice reform and until we reach our goal of true equality.’
The case had been referred to Orput by Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman due to a rule adopted last year that deadly police shootings should be handled by either another county or the state Attorney General’s Office in order to prevent conflict of interest.
Potter was placed on administrative leave immediately after Sunday’s shooting and calls mounted for her to be fired, including by Mayor Elliott.
She then resigned Tuesday, issuing a short resignation letter where she made no mention of the deadly shooting.
‘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 said.
Mayor Elliott said he had not accepted her resignation and was making sure ‘we are being accountable to the steps that we need to take’.
The married mother-of-two left her home in Minneapolis Monday with her 54-year-old husband Jeffrey and their sons Sam and Nick after her address was posted on social media.
Police guarded the property Tuesday night and fencing was erected around it as protesters took to the streets for a third night in outrage at the killing of another black man at the hands of law enforcement.
Police body cam footage of the fatal incident showed three officers approaching Daunte Wright’s car in Brooklyn Center on Sunday after he had been pulled over for the traffic stop
Potter could be heard shouting ‘Taser!’ several times in the moments before she fired her gun
Police Chief Tim Gannon also resigned on Tuesday, one day after he said during a tense press conference that Wright’s death was the result of ‘accidental discharge’ after Potter mistook her taser for a gun.
‘This was an accidental discharge that resulted in a tragic death of Mr Wright,’ Gannon said.
‘As I watch the video and listen to the officer’s commands, it is my belief that the officer had the intention to deploy their taser, but instead shot Mr Wright with a single bullet.’
The police chief’s departure is the latest shake-up of the department in the days following Wright’s death.
City Manager Curt Boganey, who was in charge of the police department, was fired Monday after he said he wanted due process to play out before passing judgment on the officer’s actions. Elliott now oversees the department.
Wright’s family have said they cannot accept Gannon’s theory that his death was an accident.
Wright’s father Aubrey Wright told ABC’s Good Morning America Tuesday: ‘I cannot accept that. I lost my son, he’s never coming back. I can’t accept a mistake, that doesn’t even sound right.
‘This officer has been on the force for 26 years.’
Wright’s mother Katie Wright said she wanted to see Potter be ‘held accountable for everything that she’s taken from us.’
They called for charges to be brought against Potter.
Wright’s mother Katie said her son called her from the vehicle after he was stopped by the officers to ask her for insurance information.
She said she then heard the officers telling Wright to get out of the car before she heard a struggle break out.
‘Then the police officer asked him to hang up the phone,’ said Katie.
‘Three or four seconds went by. I tried calling back to back to back because I didn’t know what was going on.’
She said she later called back and his girlfriend, who was in the car with him, answered crying and screaming that he had been shot.
Wright, a 20-year-old with a toddler son, was shot and killed during a traffic stop Tuesday
Body camera footage released Monday showed Potter and the two other officers at the scene approaching Wright’s car after pulling him over.
The footage showed one officer trying to handcuff Wright as a second officer told him he was being arrested on a warrant.
Wright jumped back into his car in an apparent attempt to flee.
A struggle then broke out between the officers and Wright, who was still sitting inside his car.
‘I’ll Tase you! I’ll Tase you! Taser! Taser! Taser!’ Potter could be heard shouting in her bodycam video.
Instead, Potter fired her handgun at Wright.
Immediately after, Potter can be heard saying: ‘Holy sh*t. I shot him’.
Wright managed to drive several blocks before coming to a stop when he hit another car.
He was pronounced dead at the scene and his girlfriend sustained non-life-threatening injuries.
The Hennepin County medical examiner ruled Wright’s death as a homicide and said the cause was a gunshot wound to the chest.
Potter is a married mother of two, who was first licensed as a police officer in Minnesota in 1995 at age 22, according to state records obtained by the Star Tribune.
She has served on the city’s negotiation team, and was among the first to arrive at the scene of another officer-involved shooting, in August 2019.
In that case, Kobe Dimock-Heisler died after he allegedly rushed at officers with a knife in a home.
Daunte Wright’s parents Katie and Aubrey said they could not accept their son’s death was a mistake after police revealed Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kimberly Potter accidentally fired her gun instead of her taser
Katie Wright, the mother of Daunte Wright, speaks as other family and friends and family attorney Ben Crump, listen during a press conference at the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota on April 13
Potter instructed the two officers involved in the 2019 incident ‘to exit the residence, get into separate squad cars, turn off their body worn cameras, and to not talk to each other,’ according to an investigative report from the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, obtained by the paper.
Both officers’ actions were found to be justified and no charges were filed.
Potter has been a union president for her department’s officers, the paper reported, and was a longtime member of the Law Enforcement Memorial Association.
Potter lives with her husband Jeffrey, a 26-year police veteran who retired from the Fridley Police Department in 2017 and now works as a corporate investigator at Allina Health.
Potter had an annual salary of $86,190, according to public records from 2018.
Wright’s shooting death has fueled protests and unrest in the city that is already on edge because of the trial of Chauvin.
Chauvin is also charged with second-degree murder, as well as second-degree manslaughter and third-degree manslaughter over the death of Floyd, who died when the cop knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes.
Protests continued into their fourth night Wednesday.