Hennepin County District Court's chief judge said he is confident in security leading up to the upcoming manslaughter trial of ex-Brooklyn Center police officer Kimberly Potter in the killing of Daunte Wright, after a man filmed himself at the door of the downtown Minneapolis condominium unit he said belonged to the judge presiding over the case.
Judge Toddrick Barnette issued the statement two days after Cortez Rice livestreamed himself standing outside the door of the unit he claimed belonged to Judge Regina Chu as protesters gathered outside Saturday evening, demanding that Potter's trial be broadcast. Although Rice deleted the video, it was posted, along with others, by the CrimeWatchMpls Twitter account.
"We on her heels ..." Rice said in the video before walking down a hallway and stopping at a door. "I don't know if this is her crib, I think this is her crib right here. We got confirmation that this is her house right here. Waiting for the gang to get up here."
In an interview Monday, Rice acknowledged that he entered the building, but that his intentions are being manipulated by right-wing interests and "people that support Kyle Rittenhouse," who is standing trial on charges of killing two men and wounding another during protests following the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis. He said he deleted the video because of the backlash he was receiving.
"I don't know why people are saying I was there to intimidate her or anything because that wasn't the case. I just made a live video on it and I was just there to make sure she can hear us," he said. "I don't even know if that was the right address or not. It could be but we don't know if she was there or not. I opened up the window to make sure she could hear and I went downstairs. That was that ... We are only asking and demanding that we need transparency in the courtroom." He declined to comment on whether there would be further protests outside Chu's residence.
An administrator of the CrimeWatchMpls Twitter account, who declined to identify themselves, said of preserving the videos that: "His actions speak for themselves."
In a statement Monday, a Hennepin Courts spokesperson said Chu would not comment "on pending cases or possible investigations into the activities," but that Barnette "is confident in the security and safety plans that they have in place for the State v. Potter trial. Chief Judge Barnette will not comment on any modifications to the security and safety plans at this time."
A woman who answered the phone at the condominium's offices refused to answer questions and hung up. A Minneapolis police spokesman did not return a message seeking comment.
The protesters gathered Saturday night in response to Chu's August ruling that Potter's trial will not be broadcast, unlike the trial of Derek Chauvin in the killing of George Floyd. The media coalition, including the Star Tribune, has challenged Chu's ruling, and the ACLU has announced its support.
"Kim Potter's about to get a trial in the dark if we don't get cameras and livestreaming, so that's what we are here demanding for," a man said over the loudspeaker during the gathering. "Justice for Daunte Wright. Everybody fists up."
Potter is scheduled to stand trial Nov. 30 on one count each of first- and second-degree manslaughter for fatally shooting Daunte Wright during an April 11 traffic stop. Her attorneys plan to argue that she mistook her handgun for her Taser when she shot Wright.
Abby Simons • 612-673-4921
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482