On April 11, former Minnesota Officer Kim Potter shot and killed Daunte Wright. Since then, it’s been a mystery how a 26-year police veteran could mistake her gun for a taser.
On Monday, the jury finally had to grapple with that.
While the first few days focused on testimonies recalling the aftermath of the shooting and Potter’s hysterics, the fourth day of trial focused on Potter’s claim that she meant to tase Wright when he got back in his car.
Special agent Sam McGinnis of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension talked about the weight, colors and placement of the taser and handgun on Potter’s belt, according to CNN, during questioning by the prosecution.
“The Taser is yellow; the firearm is black,” McGinnis said. “The Taser has a stocky body to it compared to the Glock handgun. The grip of the Taser is shorter and wider than the Glock.”
The prosecution is arguing that Potter was reckless and negligent, but her defense continues to call the shooting an accident and that Potter was still right to use deadly force to protect a fellow officer.
McGinnis’ analysis of the two weapons revealed marked differences in weight. Potter’s Glock handgun weighed 2.11 pounds, McGinnis said, compared to her Taser that weighed less than a pound. McGinnis said this meant the Glock with the ammo weighed over twice as much as the taser.
The state investigator also described differences in the ways the two weapons are fired.
“The Glock trigger is curved,” McGinnis told the jury. “The Taser trigger is flat with some serrations cut into it. The Taser has an external, I guess, ‘on’ (and) ‘off’ switch safety. The Glock does not.”
McGinnis also testified that he took photos of Potter after the shooting, which showed she kept her firearm and Taser on opposite sides of her body.
“Her firearm was on her dominant side, which you’d have to use your right hand to draw,” he said, noting her holster had a snap retention system to keep the gun in its holster.
The Taser, in contrast, was holstered on her left side, and required her to push a lever with her left hand to pull it from the holster.
Also, Potter didn’t perform a “spark test” before her shift on April 11 to test if her taser was working properly. McGinnis testified that before each shift, it is Brooklyn Center Police Department policy to test tasers. After checking Potter’s employment records, according to Insider, McGinnis saw that the last time Potter tested her taser was April 9.
Special Agent Brent Peterson also testified that while reviewing video of the traffic stop and fatal shooting, he paid special attention to Potter’s actions while approaching Wright’s car to arrest him. KARE11 reports that Peterson saw “manipulation of her holster,” the same kind of holster he carries.
“It would be my practice at times when I was making a traffic stop to unlatch the first level of protection or safety on the holster just to, I guess, give myself a little of an advantage should I need to draw,” Peterson said.