Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who led the prosecution team that convicted former police officer Derek Chauvin, who killed an unarmed George Floyd last May, will lead the prosecution for the upcoming trial of a recently arrested police officer who fatally shot a Black man in Minneapolis.
In a press release from Ellison’s office, it was announced last week that the Minnesota attorney general has accepted a request to lead the prosecution against Kim Potter, a former Brooklyn Center police officer. Potter has been charged with second-degree manslaughter in the April 11, 2021, Brooklyn Center death of Daunte Wright. The shooting of the 20-year-old Black man in a Minnesota suburb appeared to be an “accidental discharge” by Potter, who drew her gun instead of her Taser during a struggle following a traffic stop.
The request for Ellison to lead the prosecution comes from Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman after the Washington County Attorney’s Office, who charged Ms. Potter, returned the case to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office.
In a written statement, Ellison states, “Daunte Wright’s death was a tragedy. He should not have died on the day that he did. He should not have died the way that he did. His parents, brothers, sisters, and friends must now live the rest of their lives without him. His son, only two years old, will grow up without his father. I have privately expressed my condolences and sorrow to the family and expect to work with them closely throughout the proceedings.
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“I did not seek this prosecution and do not accept it lightly. I have had, and continue to have, confidence in how both County Attorney Orput and County Attorney Freeman have handled this case to date. I thank County Attorney Orput for the solid work he and his office have done, and I thank County Attorney Freeman once again for his confidence in my office. I appreciate their partnership as my office takes the lead on this case.”
Freeman has also released the following statement:
“The Attorney General, the Washington County Attorney, and I are following the protocol the five urban county attorneys signed last summer, which includes asking the Attorney General to take police use of deadly force cases. The Potter case is now appropriately in the hands of the Attorney General.”
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz released the following statement:
“I am glad that Attorney General Ellison is taking the case. The First Lady and I were grateful to host the Wright family at the Residence this week and have an opportunity to honor the memory of their son Daunte. We heard their desire to have the strongest legal team possible to bring their family justice. No verdict will bring Daunte back to his family, but I have full faith that Attorney General Ellison will build the best team possible to pursue accountability for what happened that tragic day.”