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Former Minnesota police officer Kimberly Potter has been charged with first-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of Daunte Wright. The first-degree manslaughter charge is a level up from the initial charge of second-degree manslaughter for Mr. Wright’s murder in April 2021.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced the new charges, which also included reckless use of a firearm, on Thursday evening. Potter will be in court later this year to face the charges.

The amended filing concludes that former police officer Potter’s actions caused Mr. Wright’s death “while committing the offense of reckless handling or use of a firearm so as to endanger the safety of another with such force and violence that death or great bodily harm to any person was reasonably foreseeable.”

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison: Upgraded charge is “warranted”

The charge was brought forth in addition to the original second-degree manslaughter charge. After receiving all the information on the case, Attorney General Ellison’s office “confirmed that the original second-degree manslaughter charge is appropriate, but also concluded that an upgraded charge of first-degree manslaughter is warranted.”

Mr. Wright was killed during a routine traffic stop in April. He was stopped for having expired license plate tags and an air freshener hanging from his rearview mirror.

Daunte Wright had a full future ahead of him before his untimely death at the hands of former police officer Potter. The 20-year-old doted on his son, Daunte Jr, and loved sports.

Potter will face charges in December

According to his mother, Duante “had a 2-year-old son that’s not going to be able to play basketball with him. He had sisters and brothers that he loved so much.” A former mentor of the slain victim noted that while in school, “He was a charismatic kid. He would joke with you, and he was so witty. He was one of those kids that everybody looked up to.”

While nothing will bring Mr. Wright back to his family, the charges are a start in showing the world the value of a Black man’s life — and lays to rest the idea that law enforcement officers are infallible. 

Former Minnesota police officer Potter, who claimed she meant to use a taser on Mr. Wright rather than her gun, faces the charges in December. 

Erika Stone is a graduate student in the Master of Social Work program at the University of Oklahoma, and a graduate assistant at Schusterman Library. A Chess Memorial Scholar, she has a B.A. in Psychology...