Defense rests after Kim Potter’s teary testimony in trial over Daunte Wright killing

A jury in Minneapolis has gone home for the weekend, after Kim Potter, a white, former police officer, recounted the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright, a Black man. John Yang reports on Potter's Friday testimony.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    A jury in Minneapolis has gone home for the weekend, after a white former police officer recounted the fatal shooting of a Black man, Daunte Wright.

    Kim Potter testified today at her manslaughter trial.

    John Yang has our report.

  • Earl Gray, Attorney For Kim Potter:

    The defense calls Kim Potter to the stand.

  • John Yang:

    Today, former Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, police officer Kim Potter told jurors of the moment eight months ago when she shot and killed Daunte Wright during a traffic stop, reaching for her Taser, but pulling her gun, seeing the look on another officer's face.

  • Kim Potter, Defendant:

    And I can see Sergeant Johnson and the driver struggling over the gear shift, because I can see Johnson's hand. And then I can see his face. He had a look of fear on his face. It's nothing I'd seen before.

  • Earl Gray:

    What did you do?

  • Kim Potter:

    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.

  • John Yang:

    During cross-examination, prosecutor Erin Eldridge underscored Potter's 26 years of police experience and training, including how not to confuse her Taser and her gun. Eldridge pressed her on whether she felt threatened by Wright.

  • Erin Eldridge, Assistant Minnesota Assistant Attorney General:

    Never said, "I'm going to kill you"?

  • [13:

    25:02]

  • Kim Potter:

    No.

  • Erin Eldridge:

    Never said, "I'm going shoot you"?

  • Kim Potter:

    No.

  • Erin Eldridge:

    Never said, "There's a gun in the car and I'm coming after you"?

  • Kim Potter:

    No.

  • John Yang:

    The prosecutor also asked if Potter did anything to help Wright after he'd been shot.

  • Erin Eldridge:

    You didn't run down the street and try to save Daunte Wright's life? Did you?

  • Kim Potter:

    No.

  • Erin Eldridge:

    You were focused on what you had done, because you had just killed somebody.

  • Kim Potter:

    I'm sorry it happened.

  • John Yang:

    The incident began as a traffic stop, but Wright tried to flee after a struggle with officers who attempted to arrest him for an outstanding weapons warrant.

  • Kim Potter:

    Holy (EXPLETIVE DELETED). I just shot him. Yes! I grabbed the wrong (EXPLETIVE DELETED) gun.

  • John Yang:

    The defense argued that, mistake or not, deadly force was justified to stop Wright. Potter is charged with first- and second-degree manslaughter. If convicted, she'd face years in prison.

    Closing arguments are set for Monday.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm John Yang.

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