Minnesota AG to lead prosecution of ex-officer in Daunte Wright case

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Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison will lead the prosecution against former officer Kim Potter, who was recorded on video fatally shooting Daunte Wright during an April traffic stop.

"I did not seek this prosecution and do not accept it lightly," Ellison said in a statement.

Ellison, whose office oversaw the prosecution that led to a murder conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd, was requested to take the lead in Potter's trial.

According to a press release by his office, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman reached out to Ellison after Washington County Attorney Pete Orput returned the case to Hennepin County. Orput's office charged Potter with second-degree manslaughter.

Image: Daunte Wright holds his son, Daunte Wright Jr (via Facebook)
Image: Daunte Wright holds his son, Daunte Wright Jr (via Facebook)

"I have had, and continue to have, confidence in how both County Attorney Orput and County Attorney Freeman have handled this case to date. I thank County Attorney Orput for the solid work he and his office have done, and I thank County Attorney Freeman once again for his confidence in my office," Ellison said.

Potter, a 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center Police Department, fatally shot Wright, a Black man, on April 11. Former Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said that he believed Potter meant to draw her Taser but instead grabbed her handgun.

A body-worn camera showed Wright trying to get back in his car after he was stopped as a female voice shouted, "Taser!"

The same female voice could be heard later saying, "Holy s--- I just shot him," as Wright attempted to drive away, police said.

Pre Trial Hearing Held For Police Officers Involved In George Floyd's Death (Stephen Maturen / Getty Images file)
Pre Trial Hearing Held For Police Officers Involved In George Floyd's Death (Stephen Maturen / Getty Images file)

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office said Wright, 20, died of a gunshot wound to the chest. His manner of death was ruled a homicide.

Ellison said he plans on working closely with Wright's family during the trial proceedings.

"Daunte Wright’s death was a tragedy," he said in a statement. "He should not have died on the day that he did. He should not have died the way that he did. His parents, brothers, sisters, and friends must now live the rest of their lives without him. His son, only two years old, will grow up without his father."

Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank, who was a presenting attorney in Chauvin's trial, will supervise the case against Potter. The Hennepin County Attorney's Office will provide staff.

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