A first-degree manslaughter charge has been added against Kimberly Potter, the former Brooklyn Center police officer who shot and killed Daunte Wright during a traffic stop last spring.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced the charge in a news release Thursday afternoon and said the amended complaint against Potter alleges she committed first-degree manslaughter "by recklessly handling a firearm" when she shot Wright.
He declined to comment further on the additional count in connection with the death of Wright, 20, on April 11. The original second-degree manslaughter charge remains.
Potter's attorneys said in a motion filed in August that Ellison's office had suggested that more or different charges may be coming. Attorney Paul Engh said that until the defense knew all the charges Potter faced, it wouldn't know whom to call for expert testimony.
Another defense attorney, Earl Gray, lambasted the decision to file the additional higher count and accused Ellison of "blatant overreach."
"It's disappointing to have her dragged through a political storm by Mr. Ellison, like he has with these police officers," Gray said, referring to Derek Chauvin and the three other former Minneapolis officers charged in the May 2020 death of George Floyd. Gray represents one of the ex-officers, Thomas Lane.
He said it's clear Ellison is giving the eventual jury more to choose from when considering a verdict.
"Of course, that's what they always do," he said. "You throw enough ... against the wall, and something is going to stick."
Potter fatally shot Wright during a traffic stop in the final days of Chauvin's trial.
Potter will be tried in the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis.
Police said Potter, a 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center Police Department, mistook her gun for her Taser when she shot Wright as he attempted to get back into his vehicle during an arrest. The shooting led to days of turbulent protests during the Chauvin trial, which ended in a guilty verdicts.
Potter, who remains free on $100,000 bond, is scheduled to stand trial Nov. 30.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482