American policewoman tried for killing young black man using the wrong weapon

American police officer tried for killing a young black man using the wrong weapon

MISE & Agrave; DAY

Simple error or serious negligence? The trial of a white policewoman who, believing she was using her electric Taser gun, shot dead a young African American with her service weapon, began Wednesday in Minneapolis, where the drama reopened the wounds of George Floyd's murder.

Kim Potter, 49, is on trial for manslaughter. On April 11, 2021, this veteran agent had killed Daunte Wright, 20, in Brooklyn Center, in the suburb of this large city in the north of the United States.

The tragedy had a strong impact, because it had arisen during the trial of white policeman Derek Chauvin who, in May 2020 in Minneapolis, suffocated George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man. The ordeal of the forties had initiated huge anti-racist protests around the world.

Almost a year later, the death of Daunte Wright had rekindled tensions in Minneapolis and protests peppered with violence had taken place several nights in a row. Kim Potter's arrest brought calm, but the city remained on edge until Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 22 years in prison.

The policewoman's trial is being held in the shadows of this historical precedent: it takes place in the same court, with the same prosecutors and certain joint lawyers.

After ten days devoted to the selection of the jury, which consists of only one black person, the debates began with the presentation of the main lines of the prosecution and the defense.

The facts are not not disputed: Kim Potter and two colleagues had stopped the car of Daunte Wright for a banal traffic control. After realizing that he was subject to an arrest warrant for a weapons offense, they decided to arrest him.

The young man, who was unarmed, had tried to flee. To dissuade him, Kim Potter had drawn what she thought was his electric pistol. On a recording of the scene, we hear her shout “Taser” several times, before shooting.

“She is not prosecuted for intentional manslaughter”, noted immediately the prosecutor Erin Eldridge, but neither is it “an unfortunate mistake”: “This file concerns the reckless handling of a weapon, the neglect of the risk” by a policewoman with 26 years of experience, a- she asserted.

Kim Potter “did what she had to do to protect a colleague” who risked being carried away by the car of Daunte Wright, retorted his lawyer Paul Engh. Under the effect of “stress”, “she made a mistake, it was an accident. She's a human being, ”he added, comparing her to a surgeon who, after 100 operations, can still be wrong.

The policewoman should be called to the witness stand in A few days. The verdict is expected by the end of the year.

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