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‘That’s the Cause’: Kim Potter’s Attorney Blames Daunte Wright for His Own Death



Pushing back against the state’s closing argument, former police officer Kim Potter’s lawyer told jurors that Daunte Wright caused his own death by struggling with officers to drive away.

“That’s the cause, ladies and gentlemen,” attorney Earl Gray said. “That’s what caused this whole incident.”

As seen on body cam video, Potter and training Officer Andrew Luckey had pulled over Wright for expired tags and an air freshener. Wright ended up resisting when Luckey was going to arrest him for a misdemeanor warrant over a weapons violation. Potter pulled out her gun, and repeatedly yelled out that she had a Taser. She opened fire, shooting Wright in the chest. The state said the round struck him in the heart.

“We’re here because this was entirely preventable,” prosecutor Erin Eldridge told jurors in closings. No one was dragged that day, and no one was almost dragged, she said.

Police Sgt. Mychal Johnson had grabbed Wright’s arm from the open passenger-side door, stopping him from driving away, she said. And yet Potter, who was standing behind Luckey at the driver’s side and did not have a clear view, pulled out her gun and pulled the trigger with Johnson and car passenger Alayna AlbrechtPayton in the line of fire, the state asserted. Her gun was so close to Luckey that the shell casing struck him in the face, Eldridge said.

But Gray dismissed the state’s account, and said that they misrepresented the evidence by playing body cam footage in slow motion during their closing argument. In truth, everything happened in a matter of seconds, he said.

“It was chaos,” the attorney said, pointing out that Wright was putting up a “good struggle.” He dismissed that the state’s assertion that Wright was not a danger to police at the scene. Gray also said that Wright could have gotten medical attention from officers if he did not drive away.

“Kim Potter didn’t drive that car down there,” Gray said.

The attorney acknowledged that his client made a mistake by pulling out her gun instead of the Taser, but he suggested it was reasonable because the Taser was shaped like a firearm, and because Potter had never used either weapon out in the field in her 26 years on the job.

“She thought she had a Taser,” he said, arguing that she cannot recklessly handle a gun under the law because she did not know she was holding one.

[Screenshot via Law&Crime Network]

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