Former officer Kim Potter testifies in her own trial

By Adrienne Vogt, Aditi Sangal and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 3:39 p.m. ET, December 17, 2021
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1:06 p.m. ET, December 17, 2021

Potter cries while detailing the moment she realized that she shot Wright

(Pool)
(Pool)

Ex-police officer Kim Potter provided details in the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright, breaking down on the stand when she was asked about the moment she shot him.

Potter has said she mistook her gun for a Taser when she killed Wright in April in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.

Potter said that during the traffic stop, things turned "chaotic," and she discussed her fellow officer, Anthony Luckey — who was a trainee working with Potter at the time — having a struggle with Wright outside his vehicle.

Another officer, Sgt. Mychal Johnson, also struggled with the driver over the gear shift, and he "had a look of fear on his face; it's nothing I'd seen before," Potter said, getting emotional.

"And then I remember yelling 'Taser, Taser, Taser,' and nothing happened, and then he told me I shot him," Potter said, crying and putting her hands over her face.

She said she didn't recall what she said after the shooting or what she said at the police station afterward. She said she didn't remember saying anything about prison.

Potter also said Luckey initiated the stop when he saw expired registration and an air freshener hanging from rear-view mirror. 

Luckey said there was an “obvious smell of marijuana” coming from the car, in which a woman was also seated in the front passenger seat, Potter said.

12:32 p.m. ET, December 17, 2021

Potter testifies she was never physically trained on weapons confusion

(Pool)
(Pool)

Former police officer Kim Potter, who has said she mistook her firearm for her Taser when she shot and killed Daunte Wright earlier this year, testified that she was never physically trained on weapons confusion.

"And with respect to weapons confusion, was there ever any training — actual training — about what was confusion as you remember it?" a defense attorney asked her.

"No," she answered.

In a follow-up question, an attorney asked Potter if she knew what weapons confusion was before the day of the shooting.

"It would be mentioned in training, but it wasn't something we physically trained on," she said.

Potter, 49, has pleaded not guilty to charges of first- and second-degree manslaughter in the killing of Wright. In body camera footage of the shooting, Potter can be heard yelling “Taser” repeatedly before she shot Wright during a traffic-stop-turned-arrest.

12:22 p.m. ET, December 17, 2021

Potter details her career as she testifies in her own defense

(Pool)
(Pool)

Former police officer Kim Potter has been called to testify in her own trial in the fatal April shooting of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.

The defense team started by asking Potter about her husband and children. The defense attorney then asked about her interactions with police throughout her life — starting with a time in elementary school where an officer visited to teach students about bike safety.

"He really influenced me as a youngster that the police were good people, and I wanted to be something like that some day," she said.

Potter went on to detail how she volunteered as school patrol officer in junior high and joined the police explorers in high school. Potter noted she studied criminal justice and sociology in college and interned at a police department.

Potter, 49, has pleaded not guilty to charges of first- and second-degree manslaughter in the killing of Wright. In body camera footage of the shooting, Potter can be heard yelling “Taser” repeatedly before she shot Wright during a traffic-stop-turned-arrest.

Wright's death prompted several days of protests in the Minneapolis suburb. It rocked a metropolitan area scarred by other police-involved deaths and reignited national conversations about policing and the use of force against people of color.

11:58 a.m. ET, December 17, 2021

Kim Potter called to testify in her own trial

Former police officer Kim Potter has been called to testify in her own trial in the fatal April shooting of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.

The shooting happened April 11 near Minneapolis after police stopped Wright. During the stop, officers learned he had an outstanding warrant and tried to arrest him.

Wright was trying to flee the scene when Potter yelled "Taser, Taser" and instead pulled out her gun and shot him.

Officer Anthony Luckey — who was a trainee working with Potter at the time — testified he initially stopped Wright for an air freshener hanging from the rearview mirror before things went awry. Body camera footage shown during his testimony also showed Potter saying "I'm gonna go to prison," to which Luckey said she was not.

Potter, 49, has pleaded not guilty to charges of first- and second-degree manslaughter. If convicted, she faces at least a decade in prison.

Wright's death prompted several days of protests in the Minneapolis suburb. It rocked a metropolitan area scarred by other police-involved deaths and reignited national conversations about policing and the use of force against people of color.