The veteran ex-cop who accidentally shot Daunte Wright dead Sunday when he tried to flee during a traffic stop could be charged under Minnesota law, legal experts say.
Manhattan-based civil rights lawyer Ron Kuby said Kimberly Potter, 48, could face a second-degree manslaughter rap for fatally shooting the 20-year-old black man after drawing her handgun instead of her Taser in Brooklyn Center, Minn.
“Mistaking your Taser, which is lighter, colored differently and on another hip, with your handgun, which is black, heavy and on your other hip — and causing somebody’s death is second-degree manslaughter, or at least can be prosecuted as such,” Kuby told The Post.
The killing occurred less than 10 miles from where George Floyd died while in police custody last May. Floyd’s accused killer, ex-Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin, whose trial is currently underway, is charged with two counts of murder and second-degree manslaughter.
“Chauvin is alleged to have acted with culpable negligence when he kept his knee on George Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds,” Kuby said of the manslaughter rap, drawing a parallel to Potter.
Kuby, who has been a frequent legal expert on Court TV during Chauvin’s trial, said that the word “accident” is not a legal term.
“Many killings are deemed by the killer to be accidental, it doesn’t mean you can get away with it,” he said. “For example, in Minnesota, if you shoot at something thinking it’s a deer and it’s a person, you can call that an accident — but Minnesota calls it second-degree manslaughter, so too is mistaking your Taser for a handgun.”
Criminal defense lawyer Kevin Sieben, who has been practicing in Minneapolis for 17 years, agreed with Kuby.
“If her reckless act causes unreasonable death, she certainly could be charged with manslaughter in the second degree,” he told The Post.
Wright’s killing sparked widespread protests and looting in the Twin Cities, prompting Gov. Tim Walz to impose a 7 p.m. curfew Monday.
Potter, a 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center Police Department, resigned Tuesday following the release of bodycam footage of the deadly encounter.
The video shows Wright struggling with police, then hopping back into the driver’s seat. Potter points a handgun at Wright and shouts, “Taser! Taser!” before the car pulls away.
“Holy s–t,” the officer is then heard saying on the video. “I just shot him!”