Former Officer Kim Potter Charged With Second Degree Manslaughter

The former Minnesota police officer Kim Potter has been arrested and charged with second degree manslaughter in the shooting of Daunte Wright.  The charge allows for up to ten years in prison but it also has a standard that could prove challenging in the prosecution.

There is evidence that the shooting of Wright was a case of “weapon confusion” in Potter firing what she thought was her taser. The case is very similar to Oscar Grant shooting discussed in my earlier column.  That case of weapon confusion led to an involuntary manslaughter conviction.

Here is the Minnesota 609.205 provision:

A person who causes the death of another by any of the following means is guilty of manslaughter in the second degree and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than ten years or to payment of a fine of not more than $20,000, or both:

(1) by the person’s culpable negligence whereby the person creates an unreasonable risk, and consciously takes chances of causing death or great bodily harm to another; or

(2) by shooting another with a firearm or other dangerous weapon as a result of negligently believing the other to be a deer or other animal; or

(3) by setting a spring gun, pit fall, deadfall, snare, or other like dangerous weapon or device; or

(4) by negligently or intentionally permitting any animal, known by the person to have vicious propensities or to have caused great or substantial bodily harm in the past, to run uncontrolled off the owner’s premises, or negligently failing to keep it properly confined; or

(5) by committing or attempting to commit a violation of section 609.378 (neglect or endangerment of a child), and murder in the first, second, or third degree is not committed thereby.

If proven by a preponderance of the evidence, it shall be an affirmative defense to criminal liability under clause (4) that the victim provoked the animal to cause the victim’s death.

Obviously, this case will turn on the first provision and whether Potter “creat[ed] an unreasonable risk, and consciously [took] chances of causing death or great bodily harm to another.”

In the video, Potter is heard yelling “taser, taser, taser” before she swears and says “Holy S**t I just shot him.” We have seen many cases of officers confusing tasers with service weapons in struggles.

The question is whether such a split second error constitutes consciously taking chances of causing death. In the Grant case, the jury rejected more serious charges in favor of the involuntary manslaughter charge.

The Minnesota Supreme Court previously ruled in State v. Frost (1983):

“[S]econd-degree manslaughter under section 609.205(1) involves an element of awareness of the risk by the defendant. Stated differently, the statute requires proof of an objective element and a subjective element, the objective element being gross negligence and the subjective element being recklessness in the form of an actual conscious disregard of the risk created by the conduct. This interpretation is based on the wording of the statute itself and, further, is in accord with the view espoused by the drafters of the Model Penal Code that liability for manslaughter should not be premised on “inadvertence to risk” (that is, disregarding of a risk of which one should be aware) but on a conscious disregarding of a substantial and unjustifiable risk of which one actually is aware. Model Penal Code §§ 210.3, Comment 4 and 210.4 Comment 1 (1980).”

61 thoughts on “Former Officer Kim Potter Charged With Second Degree Manslaughter”

  1. When will African Americans be satisfied? Probably never. Some of the politicians in this country have created an environment that this country will forever owe them something. It will just keep going on and on. We live in a country that if you say something that is factually true you can be vilified and scorned. Too many times we’ve seem someone make a factually correct and accurate statement and be lionized and often loose there jobs over the truth.

    1. “Some of the politicians in this country have created an environment that this country will forever owe them something.”

      IMHO, what is occurring in the U.S.—-in academia, the courts, politics, media, etc.—-is a massive transformation that cannot possibly be an organic “grass roots” movement.

      This has to be a highly organized and top-down process. The question is, what individuals or groups are behind this?

      It’s almost as if, overnight, in a few short months, critical race theory (the word “theory ” is a total joke) is the dominant ideology informing all areas of society. Any person who challenges this process is
      labeled a “white supremacist” and any attempt to present evidence showing CRT is nonsense is labeled “racist” and demolished.

      All objective standards and metrics are being trashed.

      1. Good post. It’s all by design and while lengthy, this publication explains it’s origins and how to understand it moving forward. Here is an excerpt:

        It comes down to this: Because Hegel cannot be severed from Marx, analysis of the Left cannot be severed from Hegel. Analysis of the Left that fails to account for its defining characteristics are ruinously under-inclusive and, hence, existentially flawed. For analysis of the Left to be relevant, it must assess whether America has reached the point where abuse of language has transitioned to the violent abuse of power constituting an existential threat that has become a clear and present danger. The current language of political discourse in America, which is characterized as variations on “liberal”, is not even structured to recognize, let alone address, the scope and magnitude of the menace that this current archaic rhetoric masks. As it stands, by masking the true language of the Left, the current political rhetoric sustains a dangerous pseudoreality—to our great detriment. The very way we talk about the Left guarantees that we cannot get to it. Somewhere along the line, the dogmatic nihilism of the Left was severed from our analysis of it. Consequently, we have little to no comprehension of it. This renders America situationally unaware of a strategic level political warfare effort that has long since secured the upper hand. pg. 53-54
        https://unconstrainedanalytics.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Unconstrained-Analytics-Left-Strategy-Tactics-231120.pdf

  2. I hate to ignore all the drivel that has been offered so far by too many.

    The issue. is simple….the Prosecutor has overcharged the Officer if for no other reason there was not time for any investigation to fully document exactly what happened.

    From what is known per the video which most clearly indicates the Officer “INTENDED” to use her Taser on the Perp. Her words and actions recored on that video CLEARLY shows that.

    At best….she might be convicted of Involuntary Manslaughter and even then I would have a problem with a criminal conviction for what happened.

    This matter belongs in the Civil Court where the Next of Kin sue the Officer, the Chief of Po,ice, he Department, the City and when they do….shall walk off with a wheelbarrow full of money.

    That they shall profit from the stupidity and gross defiance of the Law by the dead Perp is a travesty in itself.

    But welcome to today’s society where Bad is Good and Good is Bad….Right is Wrong and Wrong is Right.

    Had the Perp been White and the Officer been Black….how would this be playing in the Media, in the BLM’s propaganda, and by the Democrats?

    Answer that question honestly….and you will prove to yourself how wrong this criminal prosecution is along with the Chauvin prosecution.

  3. From my perspective, it was negligence. I don’t know the proper charge.

    Where did she keep her taser? Did she keep it on the other side from her Glock? Or did she keep it on the same side as her sidearm, making weapon confusion more likely?

    I feel sorry for both Potter and Wright. She grabbed the wrong weapon and shot him, and so is responsible for his death. Besides facing criminal charges, she’s got to live with that. It was a horrible split second mistake.

    Now, Wright’s family can correctly say the shooting was Potter’s fault, but Daunte is still dead. When someone resists arrest, the chances of getting hurt go up. If he had complied, he would have been in the process of resolving the warrant, and going on with his life. Hopefully, if Potter was incompetent, something other than accidental death would have flagged it.

    The safest way to deal with getting pulled over for a ticket, or getting arrested, is to comply with commands. Save your complaints for the court, and/or an IA formal complaint. It’s not like his identity was a mystery. Trying to run and resisting arrest was just going to pile up more charges.

    Sure, Wright’s family will get a settlement, and Potter is now facing charges, but it would have been better if they’d had their son alive.

    Parents, as soon as your children get a license, go over the proper procedure on getting pulled over. Teach them the venue to express their opposition. Wright had a well documented history of online comments promoting fighting cops and fleeing. It’s become a badge of honor in poor black communities. But it put him on a collision course with Potter’s negligence.

    This wasn’t the Nazis pulling over Jewish people to load them into cattle cars, whereby resistance is laudable. This was law enforcement with a warrant for his arrest. We have a criminal justice system where he could protest his innocence. We have IA investigations to investigate claims. And we have a media eager to expose complaints of wrongdoing. Struggling and fleeing was only going to make his situation worse, in the best possible scenario. Tragically, he struggled and tried to flee with an officer who was negligent.

    The proper way to fight charges is in court.

    1. https://freebeacon.com/biden-administration/kristen-clarke-bigot-and-liar/

      “Having sworn to answer all questions truthfully, in an appearance Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division offered a series of answers that strained credulity and veered into outright falsehood.

      The most bald-faced of the lies Kristen Clarke offered in her own defense relates to her activism while a Harvard University undergraduate in the 1990s.

      Pressed about a 1994 letter published in the Harvard Crimson making the case that blacks are intellectually and physically superior to whites, Clarke waved it off as a “satirical” attempt to refute The Bell Curve, which came out the same year.

      Everybody knew she was joking, she said, when she wrote that “black infants sit, stand, crawl and walk sooner than whites,” and, in a demonstration of scholarly rigor, pointed to the work of the writer Carol Barnes to assert that “human mental processes are controlled by melanin—that same chemical which gives Blacks their superior physical and mental abilities.”

      The letter concluded: “It is completely naive to say that Blacks have achieved economic equality with whites. It seems that whites have grown tired of hearing about racism.” Was that a joke, too?

      In Wednesday’s hearing, Clarke assured lawmakers that “contemporaneous reporting by the campus paper made very clear” she harbored no racist views.

      False. The editors of the Crimson called on her to retract her claims. In an editorial titled, “Clarke Should Retract Statements,” they wrote: “We searched in vain for a hint of irony in Clarke’s letter.” She had, they concluded, “resorted to bigotry, pure and simple.”

      Five days after the editorial was published, a student columnist wrote: “By disseminating racist theories of her own—however ambiguously—Clarke has done nothing to refute what she abhors and has done much to poison the atmosphere further.”

      Even her defenders weren’t in on the joke….”

      https://freebeacon.com/biden-administration/kristen-clarke-bigot-and-liar/

  4. We need to hear the audio before racing to a judgment based solely on the video.

    Why don’t cops utilize cell phone technology to reduce risk and lower fear during traffic stops? The police car would have a display at the top of the windshield saying “call XXX-XXX-XXXX”. Most people are going to take this opportunity to establish verbal communication, and let the negotiation begin. If a person has an active warrant, they can be given the choice to avoid handcuffing by driving varavan-style to the police station, and turn themselves in voluntarily.

    Good policing is about giving citizens choices. Poor policing is setting up a dominance-submission showdown.

      1. Thanks, Anon.

        “Taser, taser, taser!!” She was warning the other officers to get out of the way as she had prepared a taser to fire, but she had mistakenly drawn her service pistol instead. Clearly a mistake, based on the only evidence we’ll ever know. The rest is mindreading.

        Now some trolls will accuse me of trying to read their minds, to which I would reply, “Can’t read something if it isn’t there.”

  5. This is another man bites dog story. The real criminals are the media who make isolated incidents into a national uproar.

  6. Will 5,000 National Guard troops be called to Mineapolis? Is that how many they had standing around the militarized zone protecting DC political class? Why not at least that many in Minnepolis right now?

  7. I am just an average Joe, telling the world that each of us is just one mistake away from Hell on earth for the rest of our days, and the reason is because we are human with so many things to consider in a blink of an eye that it is inevitable that a miscalculation or un practiced procedure that was forgotten, that will forever as in infinity…destroy what was so desperately trying to be preserved…(LIFE)! I feel such deep sorrow for the young mans entire family and friends and community, but I also feel horrifically sad for the Veteran officer that committed the inexcusable mistake of making an adrenaline dumping judgment call while being human and fearful of escalation and committing the last thing I am sure she feared… taking the life of another human she swore an oath to protect I also feel that a course in how to react to a traffic stop should be reinforced with acting it out in school classrooms with different scenarios, because resisting arrest is an absolute non starter for positive outcomes! As for the Army 2nd Lieutenant in Virginia that was roughly handled by the Deputies… both parties failed, but in the end I feel it is still non compliance to commands of Law enforcement officers that escalated the situation to what may appear as mistreatment that-caused an officer his livelihood! But the law enforcers must know and never question a reasonable explanation of why anyone does not pull over immediately…safety reasons and all that it implies…such as not in an intersection or looking for well lit area because of fear of mistreatment…(etc). Average Joe…Out.

    1. The police officer in VA gave 2nd Lieutenant Nazario conflicting commands: keep your hands outside the vehicle where we can see them, and exit the car — he was seat belted and could not exit without bringing a hand inside to undo his seat belt and open the door.

      How does one comply with conflicting commands?

  8. There are protocols for where specific weapons are to be mounted on an officer’s service belt. nonetheless, cops do as the please. Innocence or guilt may hang on whether this regulation was violated.

  9. Boeing pulled the wrong “weapon” when it blew up Flight 800 through a “spontaneous fuel tank explosion,” right?

    Of course that was a missile test “mistake” by the U.S. Navy and covered up by the FBI and CIA to save then candidate Bill Clinton gross campaign embarrassment, three months before the 1996 election.

    In that tale, Boeing had an “accident” in the cover story, while, in reality, the U.S. Navy had an “accident” during the test-firing of a missile.

    Misfiring “accidents” happen all the time.

    The military calls it “friendly fire.”

    No case for prosecution of a crime of malice aforethought.

    In the Wright shooting, the “accident” and the crime were actually perpetrated by the suspect, Wright, when he caused fear, anxiety and hysteria in the person charged with protecting the public, enforcing the law and subduing suspected criminals.

    Airline pilots, navy ship captains, soldiers and police are human beings subject to simple human error.

    You don’t drive on the railroad tracks when a train is bearing down.

    You don’t incite policemen endeavoring to do their duty.

  10. Who cares about resumption of rioting? All of these corporations -Target, AT&T, Verizon, Foot Locker, Walmart, etc. donated tens of millions to BLM following the George Floyd riots. So their stores get looted again….they don’t seem to mind, so why should we?

  11. Let us pray that the jury is not swayed in the least by the popular assumption that acquittal is the equivalent of supporting the resumption of rioting.

  12. Let us pray that the jury is not swayed in the least by the popular assumption that acquittal is the equivalent of supporting the resumption of rioting.

  13. “Weapon Confusion???”

    Bernie Madoff died today.

    Bernie Madoff suffered investment “Allocation Confusion” as he perpetrated a “Ponzi” scheme and allocated investors’ funds to his own bank account while engaging in financial legerdemain.

    Bernie Madoff bilked thousands of investors out of billions of dollars while Congress and Democrats bilked millions of Americans out of trillions of dollars.

    $30 trillion has been squandered by Congress and Democrats since 1965 to fight the absurd, false and fraudulent War on Poverty.

    Poverty won!

    Question: If Bernie Madoff was guilty of perpetrating a “Ponzi” scheme and sent to prison, why haven’t Congress and the Democrat Party been found guilty of perpetrating a “Ponzi” scheme and sent to prison for

    incurring a national debt of $28 trillion and unfunded liabilities of $210 trillion (Forbes)?

    1. We should drop the whole trillion thing and call it what it is: $28.000 billion and $210,000 billion. For perspective, the universe is less than 14 billion years old.

  14. If you work for a police department quit now or forever hold your piece. Piece of weaponry.

  15. The fact that she was charged at all is a travesty. Wright was resisting arrest and attempting to flee in an automobile — which could have had deadly consequences for innocent people if a chase ensued. Compare this to the Capitol police officer who shot and killed a woman during the DC riot. The prosecutor in that case just dismissed it saying there were no grounds for criminal prosecution. So kill a fleeing felon who certainly presents a risk to the public, and face manslaughter charges. But kill a woman, and go free. And let’s not pretend that race and gender don’t factor into the differential treatment of these cases. The authorities aren’t even releasing the name — or race — of the Capitol cop. Double standard?

    1. And the outstanding warrant wasn’t for unpaid parking tickets. It was for assault and attempted robbery.

      1. The warrant was for illegal possession of a gun, which was a condition of his bail for the original charge as you described…where he also used a gun.

    2. Wright was not a felon. He was facing a couple of misdemeanor charges, and resisting/evading are generally misdemeanors.

      Ashli Babbitt was in the midst of committing a felony.

            1. Thanks for the correction, I wasn’t aware of that. That’s a felony, so he was awaiting trial on a felony. He still wasn’t a felon. Neither was Babbitt, though she was in the midst of carrying out a felony and presumably would have been charged just like a bunch of the people next to her, like Alam, the guy in the Canada Goose hat who broke the window she climbed through.

              1. Here are some of the court documents, and more detail about his pending cases, which have now been dismissed, of course:

                https://www.insider.com/daunte-wright-details-of-charges-warrants-before-killed-by-police-2021-4

                As I understand it, he had recently missed a court date, related to the less serious charge, and the judge in the case issued a “gross misdemeanor warrant.” The more serious case wasn’t to be heard until August.

                From the article, about his first case:

                “Another record showed that Wright was due to attend a court hearing via Zoom on April 2.

                A warrant for Wright’s arrest was then filed, suggesting he did not attend the hearing.

                This was the warrant that the police were acting on over the weekend, officials told The Daily Beast.

                Arthur Martinez, a public defender who represented Wright, told The Daily Beast that neither he nor Wright had ever seen that document. “He obviously didn’t get it, and no one notified me,” Martinez said.

                The last document, submitted on Tuesday, said the case was being dismissed because of Wright’s death.” — Insider

          1. Why he is not a felon, if true, is amazing. Choke a woman and threaten her with a gun to get her money is a misdemeanor? Whoa.

      1. You are right to remain anonymous. That is about as stupid a comment as I have seen or heard today. Nowhere in the nation is deadly force justified simply because the victim was committing a felony. In some instances criminal trespass is a felony.
        We don’t shoot trespassers. You know as well as everyone here that if that was the Portland Courthouse and Babbitt was black, the burning would never stop.
        People like you and the Ben Crumps of this world, are helping to dismantle this country.

        1. Ben Crump is on TV today saying the police officer wasn’t even justified in using a taser on Daunte Wright. Crump is an irresponsible self-enriching charlatan.

        2. “Nowhere in the nation is deadly force justified simply because the victim was committing a felony.”

          No one claimed otherwise.

          Ashli Babbitt wasn’t simply trespassing in the Capitol. She was attempting to enter the Speaker’s Lobby — a restricted area that enters directly onto the floor of the House and that a lot of staff don’t even have permission to enter — while some members of Congress and staff were still on the House floor. Moreover, she (and everyone else who was interrupting Congress’s certification of the Electoral College votes) was impeding an official proceeding and obstructing Congress. That was the goal of the people who broke in — to prevent Congress from certifying the EC votes — and it’s a totally separate crime from trespassing. That’s why so many of the insurrectionists have been charged with “Obstruction of an Official Proceeding.”

          “People like you” who choose not to have a truthful discussion are doing more “to dismantle this country” than I am.

      2. He was facing a couple of misdemeanor charges, and resisting/evading are generally misdemeanors.

        Well heck, he hadn’t even been convicted yet. So using your logic, he was still an innocent young man that was no risk to anyone. But Ashli Babbitt, well her crime was done on federal property. So naturally, the officer should kill her. Wright on the other hand, with a history of aggravated assault and robbery with a gun, attempting to flee the scene in a vehicle, deserved to be allowed to leave. But Babbitt, climbing through a broken window, deserved to be shot in the neck. Using your logic again, she was not a felon. She hadn’t even been arrested or charged for a crime. Again, using your logic. All those rioters assaulting law enforcement in Lafayette Park would have deserved a bullet and it would have been justifiable. Damn.

        1. I pointed out a fact that Babbitt was in the midst of carrying out a felony. I did not claim that she was a felon, and I did not imply that she was a felon. As far as I know, she was not a felon. I didn’t suggest that she deserved to be killed. I didn’t suggest anything about Wright either. Apparently your reasoning skills are too weak to understand that your inferences are yours, not mine. Either that, or you know that I didn’t imply what you’re attributing to me, and you’re doing it anyway just to be a d***.

          1. Then what was your point? Two people were shot and killed. Duh. One was illegally entering a federal building. Duh. The other had violated bail for a violent robbery using a gun. Duh. One was purposely shot. Duh. The other appears to be accidentally shot. Duh. The latter’s name has been released and she has been charged. The other officer’s name is unknown, nor have they been charged. All of that is already known.

            Of course your point was to justify the “felony” killing, compared with the “misdemeanor” killing. You know it, and any rational person reading your comment would come to the same conclusion.

            Put down the shovel.

            1. Take your own advice.

              Amazing that you ask what my point was, and instead of acting like someone trying to have a sincere exchange and waiting for me to answer, you proceed to lie about me and claim that my point was something that once again comes from you, not me.

              My point was to correct the person who claimed “So kill a fleeing felon who certainly presents a risk to the public, and face manslaughter charges. But kill a woman, and go free.”

              Wright was not a felon, and Babbitt was not simply a woman. I’m not justifying anything. I’m saying that if you want to compare the two, describe both accurately.

      3. The “midst of committing a felony” is not justification for use of deadly force by law enforcement against an unarmed person engaged in the felonious act lest every crack dealer be gunned down. A fleeing violent felon is a maybe.

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