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Prosecutors file notice of intent to seek longer sentence in Kim Potter case

Potter is scheduled to stand trial on Nov. 30.

MINNEAPOLIS — State prosecutors are planning to asking the courts to consider a longer potential sentence against former Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter if she's convicted in Daunte Wright's death.

If Potter is convicted of the most serious charge of first-degree manslaughter, under current guidelines, she would face between 6-8.5 years in prison. But if the the judge agrees with the state's request for a stronger sentence, she could receive up to 15 years in prison.

Potter is accused of shooting and killing Wright during a traffic stop in April. Potter is charged with second-degree manslaughter, and on Sept. 2, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced that a first-degree manslaughter charge would be added, saying he believed Potter acted recklessly while handling a firearm, warranting the amendment to the complaint.

On Sept. 15, defense attorneys for Potter filed a motion for the court to dismiss the first-degree manslaughter charge.

Court documents show prosecutors filed a notice of intent to seek an "upward departure" this week, claiming Potter's conduct caused a "greater-than-normal danger to the safety of other people" when she fired her gun with a passenger in the vehicle. The state is also claiming Potter abused her position of authority.

According to court documents, the former officer's attorneys argue that Potter fired her gun accidentally, mistaking it for her Taser. The amended criminal complaint supports this claim, saying Potter believed she was reaching for her Taser when she pulled out her handgun and subsequently shot Wright. Immediately after the shooting, the complaint says Potter said, "I shot him. I'm going to prison. I killed a boy."

Two days after the fatal shooting, both Potter and Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon resigned from their positions.

The complaint also states Potter received "a substantial amount of training" in both the use of firearms and Tasers. The training included how to draw, aim and use each weapon correctly, and the risks of confusing the two.

Six months before the shooting, Potter completed two Taser-specific training courses. 

Potter is scheduled to stand trial on Nov. 30.


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