Kim Potter, the white suburban police officer who fatally shot a young Black motorist during a traffic stop, is charged with manslaughter, a day after she turned in her badge.
A white former suburban Minneapolis police officer has been charged with second-degree manslaughter for killing 20-year-old Black motorist Daunte Wright in a shooting that ignited days of unrest and clashes between protesters and police.
Wednesday's charge against former Brooklyn Center police Officer Kim Potter was filed three days after Wright was killed during a traffic stop and as the nearby murder trial progresses for the ex-officer charged with killing George Floyd last May.
Potter, a 26-year police veteran who resigned after Wright's death, faces a maximum of 10 years in jail if convicted.
She was taken into custody at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension in the neighbouring city of St. Paul, and is due to appear in court on Thursday for a preliminary hearing, according to local media.
Death by mistake?
Wright was shot on Sunday after being pulled over for what police said was an expired car registration.
Officers discovered there was a warrant out for his arrest, and an officer accidentally drew her pistol instead of her Taser during a struggle with Wright, who got back into his car, Gannon said on Monday.
Potter can be heard on police video shouting, "Holy shit, I just shot him."
"Certain occupations carry an immense responsibility and none more so than a sworn police officer," Imran Ali, Washington County assistant criminal division chief, said in a statement announcing the charge against Potter.
"(Potter's) action caused the unlawful killing of Mr. Wright and she must be held accountable."
Intent isn't a necessary component of second-degree manslaughter in Minnesota.
The charge — which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison — can be applied in circumstances where a person is suspected of causing a death by "culpable negligence" that creates an unreasonable risk and consciously takes chances to cause a death.
Potter, who was being held on $100,000 bail, was scheduled to make her initial court appearance on Thursday afternoon.
Her attorney did not respond to messages from The Associated Press.
Potter's family home secured amid protests
"While we appreciate that the district attorney is pursuing justice for Daunte, no conviction can give the Wright family their loved one back," said the Wrights' family lawyer Ben Crump after the arrest.
"This was no accident. This was an intentional, deliberate, and unlawful use of force.
"We will keep fighting for justice for Daunte, for his family, and for all marginalised people of colour."
Protesters faced off with police for a third night Tuesday, with more than 60 people arrested, law enforcement officials said.
Concrete blocks and fences were erected around Potter's family home north of Brooklyn Center, with police vehicles patrolling the streets after protesters threatened to attack the property.
President Joe Biden called the killing "tragic" but urged calm as authorities conduct an investigation.