Officer Kim Potter to be charged over Daunte Wright murder
A white police officer who shot dead a black motorist in Minnesota is to be charged with second-degree manslaughter, prosecutors say.
Officer Kim Potter has been arrested and will be held in custody.
Mrs Potter says she shot Daunte Wright accidentally, having mistakenly drawn her gun instead of her Taser.
Responding to the charges, the Wright family’s lawyer Ben Crump said the killing was an “intentional, deliberate, and unlawful use of force”.
Both Mrs Potter and Police Chief Tim Gannon have quit the Brooklyn Center force. The killing has sparked three nights of clashes between police and protesters.
It happened in a suburb of Minneapolis, a city already on edge amid the trial of a white ex-police officer accused of murdering African American George Floyd.
Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) said Mrs Potter had been arrested on Wednesday morning at the BCA in St Paul and would be booked into Hennepin County Jail on probable cause second-degree manslaughter.
The charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 (£14,500) fine. Prosecutors must show that Mrs Potter was “culpably negligent” and took an “unreasonable risk” in her actions, Reuters reported.
In a statement, Mr Crump said “no conviction can give the Wright family their loved one back”.
“A 26-year veteran of the force knows the difference between a taser and a firearm. Kim Potter executed Daunte for what amounts to no more than a minor traffic infraction and a misdemeanour warrant,” he said.
On Tuesday night, bottles and other projectiles were thrown at the Brooklyn Center police headquarters and officers responded by firing tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets.
Earlier on Tuesday the families of Mr Wright and Mr Floyd came together to demand an end to the killing of unarmed black Americans by police.
“The world is traumatised watching another African-American man being slain,” Floyd’s brother Philonise Floyd said.
On Monday, Police Chief Gannon said the shooting of Mr Wright – who had a one-year-old son – appeared to be an “accidental discharge” after Mrs Potter mistook her service pistol for a stun gun.
But the families have rejected the explanation.
Mr Wright’s aunt Naisha said: “I watched that video like everybody else watched that video. That woman held that gun in front of her a long damn time.”
Daunte Wright was pulled over for an expired tag on his car licence plate. Family members and advocates say he was racially profiled.
Bodycam footage showed Mr Wright fleeing from officers after they told him he was being arrested for an outstanding warrant.
As Mr Wright re-enters his car, Officer Potter is heard shouting “Taser” several times before firing a shot.
Mr Wright’s mother Katie told reporters her son had called her after he was pulled over and that she had offered to give insurance details to police over the phone.
She said she heard police order him to get out of the vehicle. There was a scuffling sound and an officer told him to hang up the phone.
When she was eventually able to call back, his girlfriend answered and told her he had been shot.
“She pointed the phone toward the driver’s seat and my son was laying there, unresponsive,” she said in tears.
“That was the last time that I’ve seen my son.”