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Opening statements begin this week in the Kim Potter trial

Attorneys and the judge met Monday to discuss jury instructions and other motions for former officer Kim Potter's trial in the death of Daunte Wright.

BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. — Opening statements are scheduled this week in the trial of a white former Brooklyn Center police officer who said she drew her handgun by mistake when she fatally shot Black motorist Daunte Wright in April of 2021. 

Kim Potter is charged with first and second-degree manslaughter in Wright's death. 

The prosecution and defense teams met briefly with Hennepin County Judge Regina Chu on Monday morning to discuss jury instructions ahead of Wednesday's scheduled opening statements. 

During a 30-minute on-the-record session in the courtroom, Judge Chu told both sides that she will rule on specific jury instructions about authorized use of force by police after testimony is complete.

Potter's defense team wants Judge Chu to issue a jury instruction at the end of case stating that if the former officer truly believed she was deploying her Taser instead of shooting her firearm, the jury should rule that she is not guilty. The prosecution is requesting limits be placed on the defense using character evidence for Potter. 

Judge Chu did make a few additional decisions in Monday's brief court discussions:

  • There will be no live streaming of autopsy photos from the case out of sensitivity for Daunte Wright's family, though observers watching at the courthouse will be able to see them.
  • The judge rejected a defense request to show a photo of Wright holding a handgun to counter any "spark of life" testimony.
  • Judge Chu will allow limited testimony about Potter's reputation for being peaceful and law-abiding as an officer.

A mostly white jury will hear the case. Nine of the 12 jurors likely to deliberate are white, one is Black and two are Asian. Selection took place over four days last week, concluding on Friday morning. 

During jury selection it was revealed that at least four of the members are gun owners, and two have experience with Tasers. Attorneys thought this information was significant, given the nature of this trial.

Tuesday will be a day off for all involved in the case. Court is scheduled to resume with opening statements at 9 a.m. on Wednesday.

Potter is expected to take the stand in her defense at the trial.

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