The Corner

The Difficulty of Prosecuting Kim Potter in Minnesota

Kim Potter, a 26-year veteran who resigned from the Brooklyn Center police force, poses for a booking photograph at Hennepin County Jail for fatally shooting Daunte Wright in Minneapolis, Minn., April 14, 2021. (Hennepin County Sheriff's Office/Handout via Reuters )

Kim Potter, the officer who killed Daunte Wright by shooting him with a firearm when she apparently meant to use a Taser, is being charged with second-degree manslaughter. This strikes me as a morally appropriate charge, but it could be legally difficult to prove.

Why? Because of the way Minnesota’s homicide statutes are worded. There doesn’t seem to be a charge that clearly captures what Potter did.

Here’s the second-degree-manslaughter statute, in relevant part:

A person who causes the death of another by any of the following means is guilty of manslaughter in the second degree and may be sentenced to imprisonment for

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