Kim Potter seen grinning in mugshot Credit Minnesota Department of Corrections (Pictures: Court TV / AP)
Kim Potter, the former police officer who was convicted of first and second degree manslaughter in the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright, was pictured with a big grin spread across her face in her most recent mugshot.
Potter, 49, was stoic when being led away in handcuffs at Hennepin County Court on Thursday, despite having previously broken down sobbing while on the witness stand testifying in her own defense.
As she left the courtroom, her husband, who was present with the couple’s sons, shouted ‘I love you, Kim.’ Potter did not react.
The twelve person jury came out with the guilty verdict after deliberating for about 24 hours in the trial of Potter, who is white, for the fatal shooting of the 20-year-old black man in April.
Kim Potter was found guilty of first and second degree manslaughter in the death of Daunte Wright (Picture: AP)
Jurors had sent the court a note midway through deliberations asking what to do if they can’t reach a verdict.
The panel of twelve jurors were tasked with deciding whether prosecutors proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Potter ‘recklessly’ handled her firearm and caused Wright’s death through her ‘culpable negligence’
Potter has said she meant to use her Taser to subdue Wright when he pulled away from officers during a traffic stop in April in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center, where at the time she worked as a police officer.
The 26-year veteran of the field described how the traffic stop became ‘chaotic’ when Wright returned to his car as they tried to arrest him on a warrant for a weapons violation. She later became teary-eyed when she took the witness stand, telling prosecutors she never intended to use deadly force: ‘I didn’t want to hurt anybody.’
She had pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree and second-degree manslaughter.
After reading out the outcome, Judge Regina Chu confirmed with each juror individually that this was their ‘true and correct verdict.’ The judge told group they were ‘the heroes of our judicial system.’
While Potter’s mugshot may appear shocking, according to some law enforcement officials, there are several reasons why someone may smile in their mugshot photo.
People smiling for the police camera can include intoxicated people, who are unaware of what they’re doing, or people charged with more serious crimes who may be suffering from mental illness.
‘Many times they’re smiling because [while] we think we know it all, they know we only know part of the story,’ Wyndell C Watkins, a member of Tennessee’s Alcatraz East Crime Museum’s Board of Experts, told Delaware Online. ‘And sometimes they smile to get notoriety.’
The maximum penalty for first-degree manslaughter predicated on reckless use/ handling of a firearm is 15 years in prison and/or a $30,000 fine. Since Potter has no criminal history, Minnesota sentencing guidelines recommend a sentence roughly between 6 and 8.5 years in prison.
She will appear in court for sentencing on February 18.
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