MINNEAPOLIS – The jury in the trial of a Minneapolis suburban cop charged in the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright is more than halfway done after two days of jury selection.
Nine people sat before Thursday’s jury selection for Kim Potter, 49, who was charged with first and second degree manslaughter in the May 11 shooting of Wright, a 20-year-old black driver. 4, after stopping in the Minneapolis suburb of Downtown Brooklyn.
Potter, who is white, has said that she intended to use her Taser on Wright after he withdrew from the officers, but she pulled out her handgun by mistake.
The jury so far has been two-thirds white, according to information provided by the court. One juror was black and two identified themselves as Asian. Five are women and four are men.
The five juries sitting on Wednesday included a woman who said she possessed a stun gun. She was asked if she could ignore what she knew about her own device – a device she said she had never used – and she said she could.
She went on to say that she strongly disagrees that police officers should not be guessing about their decisions.
“This is a service job, and when you get into the position, you need to understand that it’s a tough job and so you have to maintain that level of professionalism when you get into the position,” he said. she said.
Seated in the same seat was a woman who said she thought the protests against police in the Minneapolis area had had a negative impact because of the property damage that some had caused. She also said she somewhat disagrees with the idea of bringing down the police, saying, “You’ll always need the police.”
One man selected to serve on the jury said in his questionnaire that he had a “slightly negative” impression of both Potter and Wright. When asked why about Wright, he said, “I don’t approve of running away from a police officer.” Of Potter, he said, “When training fellow officers, your actions should be more thoughtful.”
Opening statements are scheduled for Wednesday, though Judge Regina Chu said they could be moved up. Fourteen juries – 12 to weigh in plus two surrogates – are needed.
Attorneys and judges polled potential jurors about what they know about Wright’s death and about their views on the frequent protests against police brutality in Minneapolis even before George Floyd died.
Each party has a limited number of mandatory strikes that can be used without reason. Prosecutor Matthew Frank on Wednesday used up his two most recent strikes, including a dismissal of a woman who described her fear of violence in Minneapolis, expressing confidence. into the police and said that officers should not guess old or young.
Frank also used a strike to fire a man who said he was a hunter, gun owner and Fox News viewer, and that he had not seen any evidence that the police were against him. treat whites and blacks differently.
On Tuesday – the first day of jury selection – an attorney for Potter said jurors will hear directly from the former officer, who resigned two days after she fatally shot Wright. Full-body camera video captures the shot, with Potter hearing the words, “Taser, Taser Taser” before she opens fire, followed by “I got the wrong gun (at full strength).”
Wright was shot in Downtown Brooklyn while former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was on trial 10 miles (16 km) away for killing Floyd. Wright’s death sparked several nights of violent protests in the suburbs.
The jurors’ names are being kept private and they were not shown on the trial’s live stream.
The most serious charge against Potter requires prosecutors to demonstrate recklessness; The lower only asked them to prove regrettable negligence. Minnesota sentencing guidelines call for sentences of just over seven years for first-degree manslaughter and four years for second-degree charges. Prosecutors said they would seek a longer sentence.