Jury begins deliberations in Kim Potter trial for Daunte Wright's death

By Mike Hayes, Aditi Sangal, Meg Wagner, Melissa Mahtani and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 8:46 PM ET, Mon December 20, 2021
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7:06 p.m. ET, December 20, 2021

The jury in the Kim Potter trial has ended deliberations for the day

From CNN's Brad Parks

The jurors in the trial of former Brooklyn Center police officer Kimberly Potter have concluded deliberating for the day, according to a notice posted on the Hennepin County Court's website.

The 12 juror panel is expected to resume deliberating Tuesday morning.  

Deliberations started at 1:45 p.m. ET Monday and concluded at 7:00 p.m. ET, according to the court. 

Jurors will be fully sequestered during deliberation, per Judge Chu’s August 10 order.

7:24 p.m. ET, December 20, 2021

As the jury continues deliberations, here's what to know about what happened in court on Monday

From CNN's Mike Hayes and Elise Hammond

(Pool)
(Pool)

Attorneys on both sides laid out their cases in closing arguments on Monday as the jury begins deliberations in the trial of former police officer Kim Potter. Potter faces first-degree and second-degree manslaughter charges in the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright during a traffic stop in April.

Here's what happened in court:

  • The trial: During eight days of testimony in the trial, jurors heard from 33 witnesses. During her testimony, Potter said she mistook her firearm for her Taser and insisted she "didn't want to hurt anybody." Body camera and patrol car footage was shown during the trial. In the video, Potter can be heard saying, "I'll tase ya," before shooting Wright. "I just shot him. I grabbed the wrong f--king gun," Potter said. "I shot him. Oh my God."
  • The jury: There were 14 jurors on the panel, including two alternates, who have been listening to the testimony throughout the trial. Only 12 jurors will deliberate. Seven men and seven women were selected for the jury, which will include two alternates. The jury is comprised of seven White men, four White women, two Asian women, and one Black woman. No Black men were selected for the jury.
  • The prosecution: Assistant Minnesota Attorney General Erin Eldridge, who delivered the closing argument for the state, told the jury the case is "very simple," it's about the "reckless handling of a firearm" and "culpable negligence" by Potter. She argued that Potter also put other people in harm's way – including Wright's girlfriend, and two fellow officers on the scene. She said that the defense may try to convince the jury that what happened was a "mistake," but sometimes "an accident is still a crime" if the defendant's actions are reckless or culpably negligent.
  • The defense: Attorney Earl Gray is delivered the closing argument for the defense in the trial of former Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, police officer Kimberly Potter. He argued that Potter had the right to use deadly force. He claimed that her actions shouldn't be considered reckless because she "didn't know she had a gun." He pointed the blame at Daunte Wright who, Gray said, "took it upon himself to flee" and "purposely" left the scene after he was shot when he tried to drive away.

What's next: The panel of six men and six women were sent out of the courtroom around 1:45 p.m. ET today to begin their deliberations. If Potter is convicted on both counts, Judge Regina Chu will impose sentence on the most severe charge at a later date.

6:46 p.m. ET, December 20, 2021

The jury has been deliberating for around 5 hours so far

The jury in the trial of former police officer Kim Potter has been deliberating for around five hours so far. The panel of six men and six women were sent out of the courtroom around 1:45 p.m. ET today to begin their deliberations. 

Potter faces manslaughter charges in the fatal April shooting of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. She has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

4:41 p.m. ET, December 20, 2021

Potter jury sends question to the court

From CNN's Brad Parks

The jury in the trial of former Brooklyn Center police officer Kimberly Potter sent a question to the court at 3:53 p.m. ET on Monday.

The jury briefly came back to the courtroom for Judge Chu's response. 

"What was the date of the Potter interview with Dr. Miller?" Judge Chu said, reading the question in court.

The question referred to an interview with Potter, discussed in court on Friday, that was conducted earlier this year by defense expert witness Dr. Laurence Miller, an expert in forensic psychology who frequently testifies on behalf of police departments. 

Chu did not give the jurors a specific response, instead telling them, "All the evidence is in. So you should rely on your collective memory as to what the evidence is."

Chu then sent the jurors out of the courtroom to resume deliberating.

Jurors in the case have been deliberating since 1:45 p.m. ET on Monday.

1:49 p.m. ET, December 20, 2021

Jurors begin deliberating in the trial

From CNN's Brad Parks

The manslaughter case against former Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter is now in the jury's hands, and they have been sent out of the courtroom to begin deliberations.

The panel of six men and six women that will deliberate were sent out of the courtroom at approximately 1:46 p.m. ET on Monday. 

Potter faces first-degree manslaughter and second-degree manslaughter charges for fatally shooting 20-year-old Daunte Wright after repeatedly yelling "Taser" during a traffic-stop-turned-arrest on April 11, 2021.

She has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

1:39 p.m. ET, December 20, 2021

Kim Potter "did not believe deadly force was necessary," prosecutor says

From CNN's Mike Hayes

Prosecutor Matthew Frank told the jury that the "most important evidence of all" in the case are former police officer Kim Potter's own actions and words. He said "both speak the same volume."

Frank said that when Potter said "Taser" repeatedly before pulling the trigger, she showed that "she did not believe deadly force was necessary."

The prosecutor said that after the shooting she "immediately expressed surprise," stating that she "pulled the wrong gun" and "punctuated with profanity" that statement.

He said that Potter "expressed shock" and was so "distraught" and "beside herself" that she collapsed on the ground.

"Is that the reaction of somebody who thought deadly force was really necessary?" Frank asked during his rebuttal.

He noted that Potter never said "I had to shoot him," and admitted during her own testimony that she did not mean to shoot him with a gun.

1:44 p.m. ET, December 20, 2021

The prosecution says there is no "mistake defense" in this case

From CNN's Mike Hayes

(Pool)
(Pool)

Prosecutor Matthew Frank is delivering the rebuttal argument for the state.

He told the jury that there is "no 'mistake defense'" in the Kim Potter case. "You will not see instructions on the defense of mistake," Frank said, adding, "that's not the law."

"No matter how often the defense says it," Frank said, arguing that Potter is innocent because she made a mistake is "not the law."

Frank said that the prosecution's case is "based on recklessness" committed by Potter, who was "highly trained," knew "the difference between the taser and the gun," and was "aware of the risks" of using force against Wright.

The state's rebuttal is ongoing.

12:50 p.m. ET, December 20, 2021

Defense attorney says Kim Potter had the right to use deadly force against Daunte Wright

From CNN's Mike Hayes

Defense attorney Earl Gray concluded his closing argument by telling the jury "it's a very emotional case" and they should find former officer Kim Potter not guilty based on the evidence.

He said that "of course" she had the right to use deadly force. He claimed that her actions shouldn't be considered reckless because she "didn't know she had a gun."

He pointed the blame at Daunte Wright who, Gray said, "took it upon himself to flee" and "purposely" left the scene after he was shot when he tried to drive away.

Gray said that the prosecution "failed in every element" of its case.

Court is taking a 10-minute break before the state will present its rebuttal argument.

12:43 p.m. ET, December 20, 2021

Kim Potter is a "peaceful person" who made a mistake, defense attorney says

From CNN's Mike Hayes

Defense attorney Earl Gray said during his closing argument that Kim Potter made "a mistake" when she shot Daunte Wright and "a mistake is not a crime."

Gray pointed to the "character" witnesses that the defense called that have "known Potter for years" and "think the world of her." He said that his client is a "peaceful person" and "not a bully."