Kim Potter said she mistook her gun for her Taser when she shot Daunte Wright. Officers told the jury how she was trained to use the weapon.

  • A Brooklyn Center police commander testified on Tuesday about Kim Potter's Taser training.

  • Potter is being tried for manslaughter in the April shooting death of Daunte Wright.

  • Potter has said that she intended to grab her Taser and not her gun when she shot Wright.

A Brooklyn Center police commander explained the department's policy on how and when to use a Taser during Kim Potter's manslaughter trial on Tuesday.

Potter, a former Minnesota police officer, is facing manslaughter charges for the shooting death of Daunte Wright during a traffic stop in April. Potter and her partner pulled Wright over for driving with an air freshener hanging from his rearview mirror. After they stopped his car, they learned that Wright had a warrant out for his arrest.

Police body-camera footage showed that while Potter's partner tried to place Wright in handcuffs, Potter shot Wright in the chest as he tried to sit down in the driver's seat. The footage showed Potter shouting: "Taser! Taser! Taser!" before she shot Wright. Potter later said she intended to grab her Taser instead of her gun.

Garrett Flesland, a Brooklyn Center police commander, took the witness stand on Tuesday to explain the department's policies on when to use a Taser.

The department first started using Tasers in 2002, Flesland said. Prosecutors displayed documents that showed Potter had been certified on how to use a Taser in 2002, then was recertified in 2005, 2007, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2019. She received perfect scores each time.

Officers are instructed to carry their Taser on their nondominant side, and there are two different ways officers can holster their Tasers, Flesland explained. The first is "cross draw," meaning that the handle of the Taser is pointed to the front of the body, making it easier to grab the weapon with the dominant hand. The second is "reaction draw," meaning that the handle of the Taser is pointed toward the back of the body, making it easier to grab with the nondominant hand.

Flesland testified that he carried his Taser on his nondominant side, in the "cross draw" position. Prosecutors showed the jury five still photos from body-camera footage, including from the day Potter shot Wright, that showed Potter carrying her Taser on her nondominant side, holstered in the "reaction draw" position.

Flesland testified that, according to BCPD policy, officers were only to use Tasers "to control a violent or potentially violent individual while minimizing the risk of serious injury." Sgt. Mike Peterson, who is in charge of training BCPD officers, also testified on Tuesday that officers were trained not to stun someone who was operating a vehicle.

Prosecutors also showed the jury a warning that comes from the manufacturer of Tasers, which said not to use the weapon on someone operating a vehicle. Potter's defense has said that she needed to stun Wright to keep him from driving away because Sgt. Mychal Johnson was leaning into the car and could have been injured.

After Potter shot Wright, his car traveled down the street and collided with another vehicle. Flesland testified that BCPD policy only allowed officers to shoot at a moving vehicle when they believed there was no other way to stop it. Even then, the commander said, it was "rarely effective."

Defense attorney Earl Gray asked Flesland on cross-examination whether it would be appropriate to use lethal force if "another officer is in the front seat, laying over the passenger, trying to stop this guy from going, and he is ignoring the warnings 'Taser! Taser!'"

"Potentially, yes," Flesland responded. "But I wasn't there."

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