On Friday, December 17, former police officer Kim Potter finally took the stand in her own defense.
Potter began by talking about her family. She has been married to another retired police officer for over 25 years. She has two sons: Nicholas and Samuel. One is currently serving at the United States Marines and the other is in college in North Dakota.
She first wanted to be a police officer since elementary school, when a police officer came to lecture them about bicycle safety. She said that police officers “seemed like good people” who wanted to help others, and that led to her desire to start a future career in law enforcement.
She graduated from St. Mary’s with a degree in Criminal Justice. One of her first jobs in the law enforcement field was as a school patrol officer, helping younger students cross the street. She worked as a security guard at a hospital before she eventually joined the police force.
She said that she liked her job as a patrol officer because she “enjoyed working with the community.”
She worked in the domestic abuse program for 10-12 years and worked as a crisis negotiator as well. She stated during her testimony that she has pulled out her taser before on several occasions but had never deployed it before.
Potter testified that she had no complaints about abuse of power or complaints from the public. She had been a patrol officer for 26 years.
Potter Testifies About That Day
On the day of the shooting, Potter testified that she started working at 6 AM with junior officer Anthony Luckey, who initiated the traffic stop. Luckey pulled Daunte Wright over for expired tags, an air freshener hanging from the rearview mirror, and signaling inappropriately at approximately 2 PM.
Potter testified that stopping a vehicle she didn’t know was a dangerous situation due to the potential for weapons in the vehicle. She testified that Luckey wrote down information in a notepad and then returned to the squad car. He called for a second car to come because the registered owner had a “petty warrant” out for his arrest.
Sergeant Johnson arrived on the scene, although Potter could not determine if it was before or after she found out there was a warrant out for Wright’s arrest. There was a protection order and a gross misdemeanor for a weapon’s ordinance. Potter said she was concerned that Wright had a weapon in his car or on his person.
She also testified that there was a woman in the driver’s seat and there was an “obvious smell of marijuana” and “shake residue” inside the vehicle, as reported by Officer Luckey. The concern was that the woman in the vehicle might have been the woman who petitioned the protection order. “It’s my duty to find out who she is and make sure she’s not in harm’s way,” Potter said on the stand.
The three officers approached the vehicle to provide cover. Officer Luckey asked the driver to step out of the vehicle. Wright repeatedly asked him what was going on and eventually stepped out of the vehicle. Luckey asked Wright to turn around. Potter testified that Wright kept asking what was going on.
“Luckey told him that he was under arrest and I told him he had a warrant,” Potter said.
She said she noticed that there was something in his right hand and she took it with her left hand. Luckey had said something before “things went chaotic.” She said she and Luckey struggled with the driver at the door, as he was trying to get into the car.
“I went around Officer Luckey as they were trying to get back in the door,” she said on the stand. “The driver is getting into the car.”
Potter Was In Tears As She Recounted The Fatal Shooting
#KimPotter becomes emotional as she describes the chaotic scene and recalls saying Taser, taser, taser. And then being told she shot him. She doesn’t remember saying she was going to prison @LawCrimeNetwork pic.twitter.com/PrxyDbIej3
— Angenette Levy (@Angenette5) December 17, 2021
“They’re still struggling and I can see Sergeant Johnson and the driver struggling over the gear shift,” Potter recalled, getting emotional. She said that by looking at Johnson’s face, “He had a look of fear on his face. It’s nothing I’ve seen before.”
“We were struggling. We were trying to keep him from driving away. It just… it just went chaotic and then I remember yelling, ‘Taser! Taser! Taser!’ and nothing happened. And then… he told me I shot him.”
Potter had her face in her hands as she sobbed on the stand before she reached over and pulled out a tissue. Potter doesn’t remember what she said after she shot him and then said the next thing she remembered was that there was an ambulance for her, although she didn’t know why, and then she was at the station.
“I don’t remember a lot of things afterward,” she said. She claims to have no memory of saying anything about going to prison, being in the ambulance, or what happened until she got to the police station.
She stated that she quit a few days after the incident because she didn’t want “anything bad” to happen to her coworkers. Shortly afterward, she was cross-examined by attorneys.