Kim Potter broke down in tears and put her head in her hands on the witness stand as she apologized for shooting dead Daunte Wright during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, back on 11 April.
“As a police officer you have a duty to render aid… you didn’t do any of those things? You stopped doing your job completely,” the prosecutor said.
“I was very distraught, I’m so sorry.” These were the words of former Minnesota police officer, Kim Potter, who sobbed as she testified Friday about the moment she fatally shot Daunte Wright after “accidentally” reaching for her handgun instead of her taser.
Potter has been charged with first and second-degree manslaughter over Wright’s death. In order to have her convicted, prosecutors must prove she acted with recklessness or culpable negligence when she defied years of training and mixed up the weapons.
“We were struggling. We were trying to keep him from driving away. It just went chaotic,” said Potter during her trial.
Potter openly admitted to prosecutor Erin Eldridge that she did not see any weapon in Wright’s possession and that he never threatened or punched her or her fellow officers.
“I remember yelling ‘Taser! Taser! Taser!’ and nothing happened, and then he told me I shot him,” she said in tears. “I’m sorry it happened. I’m so sorry,” she added. “I didn’t want to hurt anybody.”
Potter also testified that had she been alone she wouldn’t have stopped. However she was training junior officer, Anthony Luckey, and he felt the need to pull Mr. Wright over for expired tags and they proceeded to do so.
She was concerned there may have been a weapon in Wright’s vehicle after she learned upon pulling him over that he was wanted on a warrant for a gun charge.
When they discovered the weapons warrant, Potter said she and her fellow officers agreed there was greater danger in approaching the vehicle.
According to CNN, while Potter was on the stand prosecutor Erin Eldridge quizzed her extensively on her many years of training both as an officer and using stun guns in an effort to establish that she should have been easily able to distinguish her Taser from her handgun even in situations of high stress.
Potter was shown two photos of the weapons and was asked to identify the differences between the two.
“These items look different, don’t they?” Eldridge asked. “Yes,” Potter responded.
Police dashcam was also presented in court showing Potter putting her hand on her gun holster on her right side even as she approached the vehicle.
The comments she made immediately after she fired the deadly shots were also played in court. Potter said, “Oh, s***. I shot him. I grabbed the wrong f***g gun. Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God. I’m going to prison.” per CNN.
Potter was the last person who testified on the stand. During her testimony, Ms Potter didn’t call the man she shot dead by his name, referring to him only as “the driver”.
Closing arguments will begin Monday.