The defense rested its case in the manslaughter trial of former Minnesota police officer Kim Potter after she gave emotional testimony in her own defense.
Potter, 49, has pleaded not guilty to first- and second-degree manslaughter charges in the killing of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old black man, in the Twin Cities suburb of Brooklyn Center.
She broke down in sobs several times throughout her examination and cross-examination, including when the prosecution asked her to explain elements of the body-camera video showing her fatally shoot Wright when she said she mistook her handgun for her Taser.
APPROPRIATE USE OF TASER CENTRAL 'FACTUAL DISPUTE' IN KIM POTTER CASE
Potter said on the stand that her weapons training did not include physical demonstrations about weapons confusion, though she had been warned in PowerPoints that it was possible.
Erin Eldridge, a prosecutor from the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office, sought to confirm details of both the day of the shooting and a conversation between Potter and psychologist Laurence Miller, who testified earlier in the trial. Potter appeared not to have strong memories of either incident, repeatedly saying that if it was in the reports, she would confirm it but did not recall many of the details.
“I don’t remember, I was very distraught,” Potter said of her interview with Miller.
The prosecution then tried to demonstrate that Potter neglected her duties in the wake of the shooting by not administering aid to Wright or the other victims when he crashed his car fleeing the scene shortly before he died. The prosecution also asserted that she should have immediately reported the shooting and inquired after the well-being of Sgt. Mychal Johnson, who was at risk of being dragged with the car if Wright had driven away with him halfway inside.
“You were focused on what you had done,” Eldridge said.
“I’m sorry it happened,” Potter said through sobs, becoming emotional again when questioned about her actions in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, and said again that she was “distraught” in those moments and doesn’t have detailed memories.
Former police officer Kim Potter breaks down while describing the "chaotic" moments that led up to her shooting Daunte Wright.— Mediaite (@Mediaite) December 17, 2021
"I remember yelling, 'taser, taser, taser!' And nothing happened. And then he told me I shot him." pic.twitter.com/MZxLW9JuWJ
Her defense lawyer had her state that it would have been Johnson’s job to report the shooting as her superior.
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Potter was the last witness called to present evidence in the case. The attorneys will present closing arguments on Monday, and then the jury will enter deliberations.
The death of Wright, a black man, sparked protests in Minneapolis and the surrounding areas, happening less than a year after George Floyd was killed by police in nearby Minneapolis.