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Jury Selection Begins For Daunte Wright Trial Amid Community Tension

About 10 miles from where Derek Chauvin was on trial in the killing of George Floyd, Kim Potter fatally shot Daunte Wright, 20, during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, in April this year. The criminal complaint against Potter alleges she acted “recklessly” or with “culpable negligence.”

Potter and her attorneys claim that she believed she was holding her taser when Wright resisted arrest. Video evidence would appear to support her claim, as Potter can be seen pointing a handgun at him and shouting “taser.”

Nevertheless, the 26-year police veteran made a fatal mistake that would end the life of young father in mere moments. Potter is charged with first- and second-degree manslaughter and faces up to 15 years in prison.

In a recent interview on Court TV, Denver defense lawyer Jeffrey Wolf discussed the climate of the community as the jury selection process begins.

“This is a state where they just saw a murder conviction in the case of the George Floyd murder,” said Wolf. “This is a state that is standing up and saying no more. To say that an officer gets to make a mistake and somebody dies is beyond the pale in my opinion. I think this officer’s fatal mistake is one she should have to pay for…I think this is someone with over 20 years of experience as a police officer that can’t tell the difference between a taser and a firearm, which are completely different weights, look completely different, feel completely different and actually hang on opposite hips. If you can’t get that right after 20-plus years, you’ve committed a crime.”

Community tension over the looming trial is palpable in the courtroom, as potential jurors raise concerns over safety.

One potential juror expressed worry that his identity would become public, putting himself and his family in potential danger, should the outcome of the widely-publicized trial provoke national outrage.

In another instance, a potential juror provided identifying information (e.g., where he works, the name of his band) during televised questioning. Should this juror be excused if his identity is already compromised?

“The court has an order in place to protect the identity of the jurors—that has obviously been run afoul of,” explained Wolf. “The other thing that could come out of this is what this fear could do to [the juror] during the trial. Is he less likely to return a verdict one way or another based on which side of the verdict he would fear running afoul of as well? Balancing those two things is what the court is going to have to decide here…”

Watch the entire video to learn more about the jury selection process and for more commentary from defense attorney Jeff Wolf.