A medical examiner has revealed the cause of death in the case of Daunte Wright, the 23-year-old who was shot and killed by former Minnesota police officer Kim Potter after the former Brooklyn Center, Minn, officer said she mistook her Taser for her firearm during a traffic stop last April.
On Monday, (Dec 13.) Assistant Hennepin County Medical Examiner Lorren Jackson testified that Wright was killed by a single bullet to the chest and that his death was a homicide, CNN reported. Jackson said the damages to Wright’s lungs mainly were “superficial” and that his heart suffered a bulk of the damage. Other observations included blunt force injuries to the face, including abrasions and lacerations to the lip.
When asked by prosecutors, “was this a survivable injury,” Jackson answered no. The coroner said the bullet never left Wright’s body. Instead, it “made a hole in the skin,” otherwise known as a partial exit wound. The bullet could still be felt directly below Wright’s skin.
According to Jackson, someone shot in the manner the Wright was would only have “seconds to minutes” to live. "One can lose consciousness within 10 to 15 seconds after blood supply is cut off to the brain," he explained. "Far and away, the gunshot wound to the chest was the most significant injury," he added.
Jackson also testified during the autopsy that he noticed Wright had a high THC level consistent with someone who routinely uses marijuana. Alayna Albrecht-Payton, Wright’s girlfriend, testified earlier that she and the deceased smoked together on the morning shooting took place, but she didn’t believe it altered her boyfriend’s mental state.
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As previously reported, Potter, who is white, was charged with first and second-degree manslaughter after the former Brooklyn Center cop claimed she accidentally shot Wright after confusing her gun for her Taser during the April 11 incident.
Potter, along with a rookie cop, Anthony Luckey, stopped Wright because he had expired license plates. When Luckey checked Wright’s ID, he noticed he had an outstanding warrant for a weapons charge. As the officer tried to handcuff him, Wright attempted to get back in his car. Potter yelled “Taser, Taser, Taser” as part of standard procedure.
However, seconds later, Potter fired her gun. Wright sped off, only to crash into a nearby vehicle. Luckey testified that Wright did not make threatening gestures and reach for a weapon when he was fatally shot. If convicted, she could face a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.
Testimony in the trial was set continue on Tuesday, according to CBS Minnesota.