Kim Potter Convicted of Manslaughter in Daunte Wright Shooting

Daunte Wright’s name is spelled out in the snow as people demonstrate in Minneapolis on 22 December.

Kim Potter, the 49-year-old former Minnesota police officer who claimed to have mistaken her handgun for a taser and fatally shot 20-year-old Daunte Wright at a traffic stop in April, was convicted of first and second-degree manslaughter.

Daunte Wright was on his way to a car wash when he was pulled over by Potter and an officer she was training after noticing that Wright had expired tags and an air freshener hanging from the rearview mirror, which are violations of state law. However, when Wright began to pull away and tried to drive off, Potter repeatedly yelled “Taser!” before accidentally shooting the young man. 

In this screengrab from police body camera footage shown in court in the trial of Kim Potter, the police officer reacts after the April 11 traffic stop in which Daunte Wright was fatally shot.

Potter was far from a rogue officer, as she never had any complaints against her and had never deployed her handgun or taser before that day. 

Defense attorney Earl Grey attempted to defend Potter’s actions by claiming that the killing was an unfortunate accident and should not be characterized as a crime. He also argued that Potter was within her rights to deploy a firearm to protect a fellow police officer, who was reaching into the vehicle when Wright attempted to drive away. 

However, a taser would have been sufficient to incapacitate Wright, so a deadly force such as a handgun was unacceptable for the situation.

Judge Regina Chu announced the convictions on two charges for first-degree manslaughter predicated on reckless use/handling of a firearm and second-degree manslaughter, as Kim Potter apologized tearfully.

“This was no little oopsie,” prosecutor Erin Eldridge told the 12 members of the jury in closing arguments on Monday. “This was not putting the wrong date on a check. This was not entering the wrong password somewhere. This was a colossal screwup, a blunder of epic proportions.”

The fatal shooting reignited protests in Minneapolis as the city had already been recently been affected by the murder of George Floyd less than a year prior to the Wright incident. Demonstrator and mother Bethany Hemrich said, “They didn’t have to kill him. I feel like if it was a white person, they wouldn’t have shot him.” 

Another demonstrator that “the world has changed” since Floyd’s murder. “The world can change for the better, for us Black people, I have a Black son growing up in this world,” she said, adding that it was tough to live wondering “who is the next man who is going to be killed?”

Works Cited

Broaddus, Adrienne. “Ex-Officer Kim Potter Found Guilty of Two Counts of Manslaughter for Fatally Shooting Daunte Wright.” CNN, Cable News Network, 24 Dec. 2021, 

“Kim Potter Found Guilty over Killing of Daunte Wright.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 23 Dec. 2021, 

Mack, David. “Kim Potter Has Been Convicted Of Manslaughter In Daunte Wright’s Killing.” BuzzFeed News, BuzzFeed News, 23 Dec. 2021,

Media.Npr.Org, 2021, Accessed 31 Dec 2021.

I.Guim.Co.Uk, 2021, Accessed 31 Dec 2021.