Kim Potter trial: Minneapolis jury finds ex-police officer guilty in death of Daunte Wright

Jury found Potter guilty on first and second degree manslaughter charges

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The jury has found former Minneapolis-area police Officer Kim Potter guilty of first and second degree manslaughter charges in the April 2021 death of Daunte Wright. 

Kim Potter, 49, could face a maximum sentence of 15 years for the first-degree manslaughter charge, while the second-degree charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years. 

Judge Regina Chu ordered Potter to be taken into custody and held without bail. She also praised the jurors as "heroes of the judicial system." The judge rejected a request from the defense team that Potter be allowed to remain out on $100,000 bail before sentencing. They argued that it's Christmas season and Potter is a devout Catholic, but prosecutors noted that Potter's family had moved out of state. 

The jury, comprised of six men and six women, had spent over 27 hours deliberating. 

Kim Potter is being held at a correctional facility in Shakopee, Minnesota, while she awaits sentencing. 

Kim Potter is being held at a correctional facility in Shakopee, Minnesota, while she awaits sentencing.  (Minnesota Department of Corrections)

Outside the courtroom, staff elsewhere in the Hennepin County Government Center were instructed to stop work and exit the building before the decision was read aloud deciding Potter’s fate. The entire Minneapolis courthouse was to be cleared before the outcome was announced for security measures. 

Kim Potter's husband yelled out, "I love you Kim," as she was taken into custody and Potter said it back. 

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Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said outside the courthouse that "we have a degree of accountability for Daunte’s death," but that he also felt for Potter. 

"She is going from being an esteemed member of the community, an honored member of a noble profession, to being convicted of a serious crime," Ellison said. "I don’t wish that on anyone, but it was our responsibility as the prosecutor, as ministers of justice, to pursue justice wherever it led, and the jury found the facts."

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Potter had 26 years of experience as a police officer on April 11 when she says she mistook her handgun for her Taser and fatally wounded 20-year-old Wright. 

The 26-year police veteran and other officers, including a trainee, were attempting to arrest Wright when he tried to get back into his vehicle, video shows.

The officers had attempted to stop Wright and then tried to detain him after learning of a warrant for his arrest. Wright, 20, can be seen in a police video climbing back into the driver’s seat of a vehicle as the officers scuffle with him. 

In Potter’s body camera footage from the shooting, she can be heard yelling, "I’ll tase you!" and "Taser! Taser! Taser!" before firing her handgun.

She can then be heard saying, "I grabbed the wrong f------ gun," followed by: "Holy s---, I just shot him."

Former Brooklyn Center police Officer Kim Potter reacts as Hennepin County Judge Regina Chu reads the verdict on Thursday, Dec. 23, 2021 at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. 

Former Brooklyn Center police Officer Kim Potter reacts as Hennepin County Judge Regina Chu reads the verdict on Thursday, Dec. 23, 2021 at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn.  (Court TV via AP, Pool)

Potter testified for about three hours on Friday before the defense rested its case. She has said she mistook her handgun for her Taser when she opened fire. 

The 12-person jury was made up of nine White panelists and three people of color – two Asian women and a Black woman. Six jurors were men and six were women. 

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Judge Chu scheduled Potter to be sentenced on Feb. 18. She faces up to 15 years in prison for the first-degree manslaughter charge and up to 10 years in prison for the second-degree manslaughter charge. 

The prosecution has said they'll seek an upward departure from sentencing guidelines due to aggravating factors, arguing that Potter's actions were a danger to others and that she abused her authority as a police officer. 

Fox News' Audrey Conklin, Paul Best, and Jiovanni Lieggi contributed to this report.