The trial for former officer Kim Potter has shifted focus this week toward whether it’s believable that the 26 year veteran could mistake her gun for a taser. One witness, a sergeant, testified Tuesday that he’s never heard of an officer doing that before.
Admittedly, it’s pretty unbelievable especially after hearing testimony on Monday that Potter has had extensive training. Again on the fifth day of trial, that point was driven home when Sgt. Mike Peterson was called to the stand by prosecutors.
“In all the years that you’ve been working at the Brooklyn Center Police Department,” asked Minnesota Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank, according to Insider, “have you been aware of any other officers who have drawn their handgun when they meant to draw their Taser?”
“I don’t,” he said. Peterson has been a use-of-force instructor for the Brooklyn Center Police Department since 2007. Peterson said he didn’t know of anyone ever doing that in a training session either.
And to make matters worse, Potter was trained not to tase anyone operating a vehicle. Daunte Wright had gotten back in the driver seat before Potter shot him.
According to CBS Minnesota, Brooklyn Center Police Commander Garett Flesland, who briefly served as Potter’s supervisor, testified about Potter’s years of training and the department’s policies. He said that firing at a moving vehicle is discouraged but not prohibited and showed that Potter wore her taser on the correct side, with a demonstration of his own.
“She’s a good cop. She’s a good person. She’s a friend,” Flesland said.
From CBS Minnesota:
Judge Regina Chu dismissed jurors for the day following testimony from Brooklyn Park Sgt. Mike Peterson.
In the hour or so following the afternoon break, Attorney Matthew Frank asked Peterson about the details of Taser training and the updated Taser 7 model, which Brooklyn Center started using last year.
Frank showed documents that confirmed Potter completed the Taser 7 training on March 2 of 2021, a little over a month before she fatally shot Daunte Wright. He also showed that Potter completed Peace Officer Standards and Training Board use-of-force training every year between 2016 and 2020.
How is it that in the moment it matters, a cop with years of training accidentally draws a gun and fatally shoots someone?