Former officer who shot Daunte Wright will testify at trial, attorney says

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The suburban Minneapolis police officer who shot Dante Wright will testify at his trial, his attorney said Tuesday, with jury selections to ask potential panelists closely about their perspectives on policing, protests and the Black Lives Matter movement. Inquiries are being made.

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Paul Engh, one of Kim Potter’s lawyers, told a potential juror that he would hear directly from Potter about the traffic stop that ended in the death of a 20-year-old black motorist last April. Potter has said that she intended to use her Taser on Wright but accidentally grabbed her handgun.

“Officer Potter will testify and tell you what he remembers, so you will know what was happening not only from the video but from the officers at the scene and Officer Potter himself,” Eng said. “I feel [you] He should be very interested in hearing what he has to say.”

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Potter has been charged with first- and second-degree murder. He shot Wright as he tried to walk away from a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center on April 11 – at a time when former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was on trial for the murder of George Floyd And the tension in the area was high. Wright’s death sparked protests at Brooklyn Center for several nights and revived painful memories of the sometimes violent unrest that erupted after Floyd’s death in May 2020.

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Prospective jurors convened on Tuesday had already answered questions used in the Chauvin murder trial. Roughly 200 people were asked what they knew about the Potter case, its implications for him and Wright, and their thoughts on protests and policing in the Minneapolis area in recent years.

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The first jury member to sit on Tuesday, a man who said he is a medical editor, said he had a very unfavorable view of the “blue lives matter” slogan that has surfaced in recent years. He said he believes it is less about supporting the police than about combating the Black Lives Matter movement.

But he also said that he opposes the movement to dismantle or defame the police.

“I fully believe that change is needed,” he said. “But I think defaming the police sends a message, a negative message. … I do not agree with that message and I do not agree with the approach that was taken to defame the police.”

Also sitting Tuesday were a retired special education teacher and a bass player in a rock band who works as an operations manager at Target.

The former teacher said she is the mother of four adult daughters, one of whom she lost to breast cancer nearly two years ago. When asked if she could be fair, the woman said yes and said: “I’m a retired teacher and one of my students once told me I was being tough-fair.”

The Target employee sat down despite saying that he somewhat distrusts the police, although he added: “I agree it’s a very hard job … and it’s not something I can do myself.”

Among the sacked potential jurors was a woman who said on her questionnaire that Potter should know the difference between her gun and her Taser and a man who described Black Lives Matter as a “Marxist communist.”

The man also said of Wright: “I think if he had listened to [police] Instructions, he will still be with us. ,

The names of the jurors were being withheld and were not shown on the livestream of the trial. But efforts to protect his identity have slipped at times, with defense attorney Earl Gray calling out the names of two potential jurors. Judge Regina Chu warned lawyers to be more careful.

“I don’t want this to happen again,” she said. “I know it was a mistake.”

Xu has set aside six days for jury selection, with the opening statement on 8 December.

Potter’s defense team can dismiss up to five jurors without giving a reason, while the prosecution has three jurors, which is standard in Minnesota courts. In Chauvin’s case, where the pre-trial propaganda was more intense, the defense was allowed nine versus 15 strikes for prosecutors. Neither side is required to justify such a permanent strike unless the other party argues that it was because of the jury’s race, ethnicity or gender.

Potter said he made an innocent mistake when he shot Wright. She and two other officers she was training in went on to arrest Wright after learning that there was a warrant for her on a felony charge of misdemeanor.

As Wright tries to drive, Potter, who is white, can be heard in his body camera video saying, “Taser, Taser Taser,” before firing him, followed by “I caught wrong. [expletive] Gun.” The video shows her holding her handgun for about five seconds before firing.

Prosecutors charged Potter, who resigned two days after the shooting, with first- and second-degree murder, saying she was a seasoned officer trained to know better. The most serious charge requires prosecutors to prove negligence; Less only they need to prove guilty negligence. Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines call for a sentence of just seven years for a first-degree murder count and four years for a second-degree homicide. But prosecutors have said they would seek a longer sentence.

The jury pool comes from Hennepin County, which includes Minneapolis and is the state’s most populous county. According to census data, Hennepin is 74% White, 14% Black, 7.5% Asian and 7% Latino. Brooklyn Center is one of the most diverse cities in the state, with 46% white, 29% black, 16% Asian and 15% Latino.

California civil rights attorney John Burris, who won a $2.8 million settlement for the family of a man killed by a transit officer in Oakland who was jailed in 2009 for grabbing his gun instead of a Taser, said gamblers Usually give this advantage to the police. Doubt. But he said times have changed since Floyd was killed. If the jury selected for Potter is as diverse as Chauvin’s jury, which was half people of color, he predicted they would take a thoughtful approach.

Mike Brandt, a local attorney, said that if he had been on the defense team, he would have preferred to try the case in a rural or suburban county. He said Hennepin tends to be “more on the liberal side” with more people supporting holding the police accountable.

Alfreda Daniele Jusemai, an activist at the Brooklyn Center, said Chauvin’s conviction strengthened trust in the courts. She is also hoping for a punishment for Potter.

Daniels Jussemai, who emigrated from Liberia in 2006, said, “I have lived in this country long enough to learn that giving up on my hopes will not be good for my mental health.” “I hope Kim Potter is to blame for something at this point, but I’m trying very hard not to expect anything.”

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