Former Minnesota cop Kim Potter “betrayed her badge” when she shot and killed Daunte Wright in a botched traffic stop, prosecutors said at the ex-cop’s trial Wednesday.
Potter, 49, who faces manslaughter charges in the case, claims she thought she pulled her Taser — not her Glock 9mm handgun — when she shot the 20-year-old on April 11.
But Minnesota Assistant Attorney General Erin Eldridge told the jury during opening statements that the 26-year veteran was well trained and should have known better.
She said the Taser, which she wore on the left side of her belt, weighs less than half as much as her service weapon, which she holstered on the right side of her belt.
“Firing a weapon, blindly assuming it to be a Taser, after drawing the wrong weapon from the wrong side,” Eldridge said. “She did all those things, with a gun. That’s what she actually did.”
“A gun loaded with hollow-point bullets, the kind that expands on impact, the kind that tears up someone’s inside,” she said. “She did this with a firearm that she was issued that was part of her job that she was entrusted to carry, in the course of her duty to serve and protect.”
Potter, then an officer with the Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, police department, was training a rookie when the officers pulled over Wright’s car for a traffic infraction — and learned he had an outstanding gun warrant, police said.
But when the cops tried to take Wright into custody, he pulled back and jumped back into his car.
Potter then reached for her belt and can be heard on her bodycam footage yelling, “I’ll tase you,” as Wright struggled with the officers.
“Taser, Taser, Taser!” she yelled, before firing off a round and hitting Wright in the chest.
“Holy s–t,” Potter is heard saying. “I just shot him!”
She told another cop she “grabbed the wrong f—-ng gun,” and “I’m going to prison.”
The ex-cop is now on trial for first- and second-degree manslaughter.
During his opening statements Wednesday, defense attorney Paul Engh called the fatal incident “a mistake” and an “accident.”
He said Potter, despite more than two dozen years on the force, had never had to fire her gun or her Taser before the day of Wright’s death.
Engh blamed Wright for the deadly encounter.
“She said, ‘I’ll tase you, I’ll tase you,’” he told jurors. “The language was direct, it was clear. It was unmistakable.”
“All Mr. Wright had to do was stop. He was told he was arrested on a warrant, he resisted, she said, ‘I’ll tase you.’ And all he had to do was surrender. But that wasn’t his plan. He continued on with his struggle.”
Engh also suggested that Potter could be taking the stand next week.