The defense called several of Kim Potter’s little cop friends to the stand Thursday to testify on the seventh day of trial, including former police chief Tim Gannon who had rather lost his job than fire his good friend.
Gannon testified that Potter was “a fine officer” during questioning from Potter’s attorney Earl Gray, according to ABC News. He says he had resigned from the Brooklyn Center Police Department on April 13 because he wasn’t going to fire Potter for fatally shooting 20-year-old father Daunte Wright during a traffic stop two days prior. Potter is charged with first and second-degree manslaughter charges in the shooting.
Gannon also testified that after viewing footage from the incident, “all the data in front of me, I saw no violation.”
“Violation of what?” Gray asked.
“Of policy, procedure or law,” said Gannon, who also testified that he and Potter are friends.
On cross-examination, prosecutor Matthew Frank asked Gannon whether it was consistent with policy “for an officer to not know they have their firearm in their hand when they shoot it.”
Potter’s attorneys have argued that she would have been within her rights to use deadly force even if she had intended to do so because a fellow officer was endangered by Wright’s attempt to flee.
Gannon testified that it appeared to him from dashcam video that Sgt. Mychal Johnson, who was assisting in the stop, was “leaning into” Wright’s car. He said it was his opinion that deadly force was reasonable.
Gannon recalled his own experience in a situation where he was dragged by a car. He said he felt “sheer terror” and a feeling of “simply trying to survive.”
One of the character witnesses, officer Colleen Fricke called Potter law-abiding, but prosecutor Joshua Larson tore that up in one glaring statement: “In terms of following the law, though, generally speaking, you’d agree that following the law on one day does not absolve you from accountability the next day.” Of course, that was met with an objection from the defense.
Use-of-force expert Stephen Ijames, a former assistant police chief in Springfield, Missouri, who said he wrote the Taser policy for the International Association of Chiefs of Police was called to the stand by the defense as well. He offered several takes that directly contradicted the case prosecution set up in the first six days of trial.
Ijames testified that the officers were legally bound to arrest Wright when they discovered he had a warrant, that it was unlikely Wright could drive away if he was tased (even though he was able to drive after being shot), and that deadly force was warranted even with officers halfway inside a vehicle.
“Yes, your honor, I’ll testify,” Potter told Hennepin County Judge Regina Chu, according to CNN. On Friday, the jury is expected to hear from the last of the defense’s witnesses.