Many of the jurors said they had already seen assemblage camera video of Ms. Potter, a erstwhile constabulary serviceman successful Brooklyn Center, Minn., fatally shooting Daunte Wright aft seeming to mistake her weapon for her Taser.
Dec. 3, 2021, 3:44 p.m. ET
A nurse, a teacher, a bassist and a pupil who volition person to postpone her last exams are among the jurors seated for the proceedings of Kimberly Potter, the erstwhile constabulary serviceman who faces manslaughter charges successful the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright, erstwhile she seemed to mistake her weapon for her Taser.
Twelve jurors and 2 alternates volition see grounds successful possibly the highest-profile proceedings of a constabulary serviceman since the spring, erstwhile a assemblage convicted a erstwhile Minneapolis officer, Derek Chauvin, of murdering George Floyd. Ms. Potter’s proceedings is scheduled to statesman adjacent week successful the aforesaid courtroom wherever Mr. Chauvin was tried, and it is expected to proceed until astir Christmas.
Ms. Potter, who is white, was an serviceman with the constabulary section successful Brooklyn Center, Minn., a Minneapolis suburb, erstwhile she fired 1 changeable into Mr. Wright, who was Black, arsenic helium tried to interruption escaped of different serviceman who had begun to handcuff him.
Ms. Potter, 49, changeable Mr. Wright, a 20-year-old father, successful April during a postulation halt that took spot during the Chauvin trial. The shooting acceptable disconnected a week of turbulent protests extracurricular the suburban constabulary department’s headquarters.
The jurors for the Potter proceedings were chosen implicit 4 days this week, with the last juror seated connected Friday. Prosecutors from the authorities lawyer general’s bureau and Ms. Potter’s defence lawyers interviewed prospective jurors, and each broadside was allowed to destruct a constricted fig of radical from the panel.
Three-quarters of the 12 jurors who person emerged from that process are white, astir matching the proportionality of achromatic radical successful Hennepin County, which includes Minneapolis and galore of its suburbs. Two of the 12 jurors are Asian and 1 is Black; Hennepin County is 7.5 percent Asian and astir 14 percent Black. The assemblage is evenly divided betwixt men and women, and the jurors’ ages scope from the 20s to the 60s.
The 2 alternate jurors volition perceive each the evidence, grounds and arguments of the proceedings but volition not deliberate implicit a verdict unless a superior juror is excused for immoderate reason, similar falling sick oregon failing to travel the judge’s orders to debar quality sum of the case. The alternate jurors, who are some white, are not expected to cognize that they are alternates until it is clip for deliberations to begin.
Many of the chosen jurors said they had seen the minute-long assemblage camera video that was released the time aft the shooting, and had heard astir the lawsuit connected the quality or, successful immoderate cases, had lived adjacent businesses that were vandalized during the thoroughfare demonstrations aft the shooting. The assemblage camera video is apt to play a pivotal relation successful the trial.
In the information of the video that has been released publicly, an serviceman whom Ms. Potter was grooming tin beryllium seen trying to handcuff Mr. Wright. The officers had pulled Mr. Wright implicit due to the fact that his car had an expired registration tab and an aerial freshener dangling from the car’s rearview mirror, prosecutors said. The officers past learned that a justice had issued a warrant for Mr. Wright’s apprehension aft Mr. Wright missed a tribunal day wherever helium was to look a complaint of illegally possessing a gun.
When Mr. Wright evaded the trainee officer’s grip and got backmost into the driver’s spot of his car, Ms. Potter is heard successful the video threatening to stun Mr. Wright with her Taser, but she was really aiming her handgun astatine him. She yelled, “Taser! Taser! Taser!” and fired 1 shot, which prosecutors said pierced his lungs and heart. Ms. Potter is past heard to curse and say, “I conscionable changeable him.”
Another important portion of grounds is apt to beryllium Ms. Potter’s ain testimony. Ms. Potter, who resigned from the unit 2 days aft the shooting, has not spoken publicly, but her lawyers said during assemblage enactment that she planned to attest astatine trial, and she confirmed arsenic overmuch to the judge.
As they filling retired questionnaires astir the case, respective of the chosen jurors said they had a “somewhat negative” presumption of Ms. Potter. Her grounds is apt to beryllium captious to the defense, to explicate what she was reasoning arsenic she utilized her weapon.
Prosecutors person charged Ms. Potter with first-degree manslaughter and second-degree manslaughter. A condemnation connected either number would astir apt bring a condemnation of astatine slightest respective years successful prison. Prosecutors bash not complaint that the sidesplitting was intentional, but alternatively that Ms. Potter handled her weapon recklessly, acting “with specified unit and violence” that sidesplitting oregon earnestly wounding idiosyncratic was “reasonably foreseeable.”
Several of the jurors who said they viewed Ms. Potter negatively said they besides viewed Mr. Wright negatively.
“He was considered to beryllium much of a occupation child,” 1 juror said during assemblage selection, describing what she had heard successful the news. That juror, a teacher and the lone Black juror, said the sidesplitting of Mr. Wright reminded her of different “terrible situations,” including the sidesplitting of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man, by a achromatic antheral successful Georgia; helium and 2 others were convicted of execution successful the lawsuit successful November. She besides said that constabulary officers “have to maintain” a “level of professionalism” successful pugnacious situations.
All the jurors who were chosen said they could enactment their ain preconceptions astir the lawsuit speech and measure the grounds astatine proceedings impartially.
Several jurors who were chosen expressed interest implicit their identities being released by the tribunal aft the proceedings concludes.
“No substance which absorption this takes, there’s going to beryllium a ample information of radical that aren’t going to beryllium happy,” said a achromatic juror successful his 40s who works successful accusation security. That juror said helium had erstwhile wanted to beryllium a constabulary officer, but chose a antithetic vocation due to the fact that helium was “afraid that I’d extremity up having to usage my gun.”
The proceedings proceedings are being streamed live, a rarity successful Minnesota. Though jurors are not shown connected camera, 1 juror said friends had recognized him during assemblage enactment by his dependable and by the details of the answers helium gave to questions. One of Ms. Potter’s lawyers besides mistakenly uttered the juror’s surname successful court.
That juror, who is white, said helium was frightened by being recognized but had truthful acold been contacted astir it lone by radical who already knew him. He said helium inactive wanted to service connected the jury.
Several different jurors said they had concerns astir taking portion successful the trial.
The pupil who volition person to postpone her exams had said explicitly that she did not privation to beryllium connected the assemblage due to the fact that of her tests and due to the fact that she had galore friends and relatives who were “very opinionated” astir the case. Even so, the juror, an Asian pistillate successful her 20s, said she was definite she could enactment those influences speech and determine the lawsuit fairly.
Another juror, a retired teacher successful her 60s, said she was acrophobic that she mightiness beryllium “overcome with emotion” during aggravated testimony, due to the fact that she had been treated for slump and anxiousness and due to the fact that 1 of her daughters died little than 2 years ago. Neither the prosecution nor the defence moved to exclude the woman, who is white, truthful she was chosen for the assemblage aft she said she believed she could beryllium just and focused.
“I spell done time to day, and I’m capable to negociate taking attraction of myself,” she said successful court. She added: “I conjecture if I tin bash that, I consciousness similar I could clasp it together.”