MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota police officer on trial in the shooting death of Daunte Wright took the stand Friday, hoping to persuade jurors to acquit her of manslaughter charges in what she has said was a gun-Taser mixup.
Potter's lawyers focused their questioning on her decades-long career in law enforcement and her desire to do right by her community. She noted that she had never fired her Taser or her gun while in the field.
In describing the day of the shooting, Potter grew emotional and broke down in tears.
"It just went to chaos," she said, describing the moments after shooting.
Potter also told her lawyers that had she been patrolling by herself, she would not have pulled over Wright's car for improper signaling, expired tags and an improper air freshener hanging in his windshield. However, she said she allowed her partner, an officer-in-training, to stop Wright's car.
When prosecutors took over questioning, they focused on Potter's extensive experience in law enforcement and years of training. Potter noted that she was trained on the use of her Taser every year since they had been introduced in the early 2000s. She also testified to several structural differences between her stun gun and firearm.
Potter's testimony is expected to be one of the last acts of her defense. Her lawyers will likely wrap up their case after just two days.
Jurors on Friday also heard from an expert on how officers can mistake their firearm for their stun gun.
On Thursday, former Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon, who was in charge of Potter's department at the time of the shooting, called her "a fine officer" and said he "saw no violation" of policy in Potter's actions at the scene.
The April 11 shooting took place in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. Body camera footage from the incident shows Wright attempting to flee the scene in his car after a traffic stop.
Video shows that Potter repeatedly yelled "Taser!" before pulling her gun and fatally shooting Wright.
Potter is white, and Wright was Black.
The shooting sparked several days of unrest in Brooklyn Center. The incident occurred as the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was getting underway just miles away.
Potter faces charges of first- and second-degree manslaughter.