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Police Expert Testifies About Kim Potter’s Use Of Deadly Force Against Daunte Wright

Wright’s father tells the jury about the pain of losing his son.

The prosecution was expected to rest its case on Thursday (Dec. 16) in the manslaughter trial of Kimberly Potter, the former Brooklyn Center officer in Minnesota, who fatally shot Daunte Wright during a traffic stop in April, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

Testimony on Wednesday included a national policing expert who said Potter was not justified in using deadly force, and Wright’s father, Arbuey Wright, reflected on the loss of his son.

On April 11, Potter and other officers pulled Wright over for expired license plate tags, but discovered he had outstanding warrants for his arrest. She claims to have mistaken her gun for her Taser when trying to arrest Wright.

Potter, a 26-year veteran of the force, was charged with first-degree and second-degree manslaughter.

According to The New York Times, the two counts are separate and not mutually exclusive, meaning she can be convicted or acquitted of either charge or of both. If convicted, she faces up to 15 years in prison on the first-degree manslaughter charge and up to 10 years for the second-degree manslaughter charge.

RELATED: Medical Examiner Testifies Why Daunte Wright Had No Chance Of Surviving Encounter With Ex-Cop

Police expert Seth Stoughton, a University of South Carolina School of Law professor testifying for the prosecution, agreed with the defense that Potter intended to use her Taser instead of a gun. But he also agreed with the prosecutor that “the use of deadly force was not appropriate [but] excessive and inappropriate.”

Footage of the traffic stop shows Wright initially outside of his vehicle.  When the police realized he had a warrant for a misdemeanor weapons charge, he jumped back into his car apparently attempting to drive away. She yelled, "Taser! Taser! Taser!" but drew her handgun instead of the Taser and fired a single shot. He drove away, only a few hundred feet, where his car was found crashed into another vehicle.

One point of contention is whether Police Sgt. Mychal Johnson, an officer at the scene who reached into Wright’s car to stop him, was in danger when Wright attempted to drive away, prompting Potter to reach, supposedly for her Taser.

Stoughton said Johnson was not in danger. He testified Johnson was not in jeopardy of being dragged by the vehicle because he withdrew after hearing Potter yell Taser three times, the newspaper reported.

According to CNN, Johnson testified on Friday (Dec. 10) that when he saw a third officer struggling with Wright, he opened the passenger side door to prevent him from driving away. He was leaning into the car while holding Wright's arm, anticipating that one of the other officers would grab Wright’s other arm to handcuff him.

Instead, Johnson said he heard Potter say "Taser” and released Wright's arm because he didn't want to be caught between the probes of the Taser. Johnson backed out of the car as Wright drove off and Potter fired her gun.

According to the Tribune, Judge Regina Chu warned the prosecution that Stoughton cannot testify about what Potter knew as the shooting unfolded but can testify to what “a reasonable officer” would do in that situation.

The police expert testified that using a Taser was “inappropriate under those circumstances,” adding that “it’s really dangerous to incapacitate” a driver.

RELATED: Daunte Wright’s Girlfriend Testifies She ‘Tried To Scream His Name’ During Moment He Was Shot

Also on Wednesday, Wright’s father, in tearful testimony, said he “had a close relationship” with his son.

He was shown a photograph of Daunte holding his baby son, Daunte Jr. Arbuey Wright stated, “To see him as a father, it was like I was so happy for him because he was so happy. It was my chance to be a grandfather."

The elder Wright was his son’s boss at a shoe store where they worked together for a year. He recalled having to show his Daunte some tough love on the job. One day he sent his son home because he was using his phone on the job.

"I tried to let him understand that at work I was his boss, and home I'm your dad," he said.

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