Kim Potter Trial Day 6: 'Excessive and Inappropriate' Force

Home / The Law / Kim Potter Trial Day 6: 'Excessive and Inappropriate' Force

By Kristin Myers on December 15, 2021 at 6:15 PM EST
Updated on March 19, 2022 at 11:53 AM EDT

Wednesday, December 15, marks the sixth day of testimony in the KimPotter trial.

Potter, 49, has pled not guilty to first and second-degree manslaughter charges for the murder of Daunte Wright, 20. In April, Potter fatally shot Wright at a traffic stop while she was attempting to perform an arrest. Although she said she meant to use her taser, she used her firearm instead.

On the first day of the trial, Wright’s mother, Katie Bryant, gave an emotional testimony that was followed by the testimony of Wright’s girlfriend, Alayna-Albrecht-Payton, on the second day of the trial. She was in the car with Wright when he was shot.

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On the third day of the trial, Potter’s former supervisor testified that although Potter meant to use her taser, she had a right to use deadly force as per a state statute. On the fourth day of the trial, a medical examiner testified that the gunshot wound – not the THC found in Wright’s system – was what caused his death.

On the fifth day, the jury witnessed a taser spark test from Sergeant Mike Peterson, and Commander Garett Flesland called Potter “a good person” while testifying that Potter never missed a training session.

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Sergeant Mike Peterson Returns To The Stand

On Wednesday morning, Sergeant Mike Peterson returned to the stand to be cross-examined by defense attorney Paul Engh. Peterson testified that although they do their best, they cannot train officers how to respond in every scenario.

“We do not deal in absolutes because no incident in this world is ever forecasted,” Peterson said. “We give recommendations. We give officers as many hypotheticals as we can, but the world is constantly moving and evolving. It’s something that we warn them, but it’s that officer’s determination, at that time, in that specific incident, that is different from any other incident that they have probably been in to make that decision.”

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Engh clarified, “So what you’re saying is, it would all depend on where that officer is, where their feet are, where they’re located physically, if they’re outside the door… it’s going to depend on a lot of considerations.”

“It would depend on their actions, actions of other officers, and the actions of any suspects, or any other people inside that vehicle,” Peterson said.

“But in terms of reasonable force by that officer, it’s from that specific officer’s perspective?” Engh asked.

“That specific officer’s perspective, what their actions are,” Peterson confirmed.

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Expert Witness Calls Kim Potter’s Use Of Force ‘Excessive And Inappropriate’

Expert witness Seth Stoughton, a professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law, was called to the stand on Wednesday afternoon to serve as an expert witness in the trial. Stoughton has a background in law enforcement and co-wrote the book “Evaluating Police Uses of Force.”

After reviewing the body camera footage of the shooting, he testified that Potter’s use of force in this situation was “not appropriate.”

“The evidence suggests that a reasonable officer in Officer Potter's position would not have believed that it was proportional to the threat at the time,” Stoughton told the jury. “In other words, the use of force was apparently excessive and inappropriate.”

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Gray objected to a question of whether or not the evidence suggested that Potter did not believe that there was a threat of bodily harm at the time she shot Wright. Judge Regina Chu sustained the objection because Stoughton cannot testify about what Potter could have known or been aware of at that moment. He can only testify about how a reasonable officer would act in that given moment.

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