Former Potter boss: “I saw no violation” of policy by officer – WSB-TV Channel 2

MINNEAPOLIS – (AP) – Kim Potter’s police chief at the time she shot Daunte Wright testified in her defense during her manslaughter trial on Thursday, calling her a “good officer” and saying he “didn’t ‘had seen no violation’ of the policy of his actions at the scene.

Tim Gannon resigned two days after the April 11 shooting, saying he believed he should quit “because I wouldn’t immediately fire Kim Potter.” Potter resigned the same day.

Potter, 49, is charged with manslaughter in Wright’s death. During an April 11 traffic stop in the Brooklyn Center suburb of Minneapolis, the 20-year-old black motorist broke away from the officers trying to stop him and tried to pull away when Potter shot him. Body camera video captured Potter, who is white, shouting “I’m going to smack you!” and “Taser, Taser, Taser!” before firing once.

When asked by Potter’s attorney Earl Gray, Gannon said he viewed the body camera video immediately after the shooting and the police car video recently, and when he had “all the data in front of me. , I saw no violation “.

“Violation of what? Gray asked.

“Of policy, procedure or law,” Gannon said.

In cross-examination, District Attorney Matthew Frank asked Gannon if it was in accordance with the “officer not to know he has his gun in his hand when he shoots” policy.

Potter’s attorneys argued that she would have had the right to use deadly force even if she had intended to do so because a fellow officer was endangered by Wright’s attempt to escape .

Gannon testified that it appeared to him from the video of the patrol car that Staff Sgt. Mychal Johnson, who was assisting at the stop, was “leaning over” Wright’s car. He said he believed lethal force was reasonable.

Gannon recalled his own experience in a situation where he was dragged by a car. He said he felt “pure terror” and the feeling of “just trying to survive”.

Prosecutors called police witnesses to build their argument that Potter was an experienced officer who had been thoroughly trained in the use of a Taser, including warnings about the danger of mistaking one for a handgun. They must prove their recklessness or culpable negligence if they are to obtain a conviction for manslaughter.

Wright’s death sparked protests of anger lasting several days in the Brooklyn Center. It happened as another former white officer, Derek Chauvin, was on trial in neighboring Minneapolis for the murder of George Floyd.

Gannon said Potter was known to handle calls, act professionally, and write good police reports. He testified that she volunteered with a group that helped when officers were killed in the line of duty. She has also worked on domestic violence cases and was a field training officer.

Earlier Thursday, the defense opened its case with use of force expert Stephen Ijames, a former deputy chief of police in Springfield, Missouri. Ijames said officers were legally required to arrest Wright after discovering he had a warrant for an outstanding weapons violation.

Ijames also said that it was highly unlikely that Wright could have walked away if Potter had actually used his Taser. This fired a use of force expert from the prosecution who said earlier that using a gun or Taser on Wright would have made matters worse as he could have been incapacitated and his vehicle could have become a weapon.

After Potter shot Wright, his car took off and crashed seconds later into an oncoming vehicle, injuring several people.

Ijames, who said he wrote the Taser policy for the International Association of Chiefs of Police, told the court on Thursday that he disagreed with a prosecution’s use of force expert who stated that Potter was too close to Wright for the Taser to be effective.

Ijames said that a Taser is the most effective tool to incapacitate someone when used correctly, right after a shot in the head. He also said officers were to assume that Wright “could most likely have a gun” because he had one in the past, and that it would have been a “dereliction of duty” for them not to have tried. to stop it.

But Ijames testified that lethal force is justified if an officer is halfway inside a vehicle that is about to be started. In Wright’s case, two other officers were trying to get him out of the car when Potter shot him.

He then agreed, when questioned by the state, that lethal force would not have been reasonable if an officer in Potter’s position was unaware that one of the other officers was unable to exit the vehicle.

Frank noted that Ijames’ written report did not indicate that Potter had acted as “an objective officer” would have done in a similar situation, a phrase the state often used during the trial.

Frank also grabbed part of Ijames’ report in which he said that just pulling Potter’s trigger supported the idea that she intended to use her Taser. This is because officers who intend to use lethal force are often trained to shoot more than once.

The defense also called several character witnesses for Potter. Former Brooklyn Center agent Colleen Fricke testified about her work alongside Potter, saying she saw her as a mentor and friend.

Fricke was asked to watch Potter after the shooting. “I saw her curled up in the corner of the room” – all alone and crying, said Fricke.

It was not clear when Potter would take a stand.

The case is heard by a mostly white jury.

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Associated Press editors Tammy Webber in Fenton, Michigan, and Doug Glass in Minneapolis contributed to this report.

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Find the full PA coverage of the Daunte Wright case: https://apnews.com/hub/death-of-daunte-wright


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