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New charge filed against ex-Minnesota cop accused of shooting Daunte Wright

Former Brooklyn Center, Minn., police officer Kimberly Potter was charged with first-degree manslaughter for the death of Daunte Wright on Thursday. File Photo courtesy of the Hennepin County Jail
Former Brooklyn Center, Minn., police officer Kimberly Potter was charged with first-degree manslaughter for the death of Daunte Wright on Thursday. File Photo courtesy of the Hennepin County Jail

Sept. 3 (UPI) -- The chief prosecutor in Minnesota has filed an additional and more serious charge against the former police officer accused of shooting 20-year-old Daunte Wright dead in April.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison on Thursday filed an amended complaint against Kimberly Potter, charging her with manslaughter in the first degree in addition to her original charge of manslaughter in the second degree.

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According to the amended complaint, Potter committed first-degree manslaughter by "recklessly handling a firearm when she fatally shot Daunt Wright during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center" on April 11.

The second-degree manslaughter charge accuses her of culpable negligence by using a firearm.

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Potter, a 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center Police Department, was arrested on April 14, days after the shooting occurred. In footage taken by her body camera, Potter is heard repeatedly saying the word "Taser" before letting off a single shot from her revolver.

The officers had pulled Wright over because the tags on his vehicle were expired and an air fresher was hanging from the rear-view mirror, which is prohibited by Minnesota law. Potter learned that he had an outstanding arrest warrant for a gross misdemeanor weapons violation.

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Wright was shot as he attempted to re-enter his car as officers were trying to restrain him, according to the complaint.

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Following his death, protests erupted in the city, located about 10 miles north of Minneapolis. His funeral was attended by the Rev. Al Sharpton, who delivered a eulogy and vowed to work with civil rights leaders to seek justice for his family.

Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon, who resigned following the shooting, said at that time that Potter accidentally shot Wright when she'd intended to use her Taser.

The case was originally prosecuted by the Washington County attorney but was later transferred to Ellison, who said he would conduct a review of the evidence and make a decision on the charges.

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In a statement on Thursday, his office said Ellison confirmed "the original second-degree manslaughter charge is appropriate but also concluded that an upgraded charge of first-degree manslaughter is warranted."

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