It’s a former officer Kim Potter Who is being tried for murder? Daunte Wright but the trial in the same courtroom earlier this year by the former police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd shadowing the proceedings.
In last week’s jury selection, there was little mention of Chauvin or Floyd, whose deaths have sparked outrage at police brutality in the US. Courts have sometimes been adamant not to bring that up.
But with the opening statement set for Wednesday, reminders of the previous case were everywhere, from the presence of some of the prosecutors who tried Chauvin to potential jurors questioned. about their fear of delivering an unpopular verdict.
Hennepin County Judge Regina Chu is using the same 18th-floor courtroom where Chauvin was found guilty of murder by a jury in April. Judge Peter Cahill was 22 and a half years old.
The video will also appear during the Potter manslaughter trial. The jury will see footage showing the white police officer shouting “Taser, Taser, Taser” as she aims her 9mm Glock semi-automatic pistol at Wright, a Black man, as he he tried to drive away from a traffic stop on April 11, then shot a fatal bullet in the chest before exclaiming, “I got a (outdated) gun by mistake.”
Her lawyers say Wright’s death was an innocent mistake, not a crime.
Although Floyd’s death is rarely mentioned directly in the jury’s selection process, the impact of his case on the trial is clear. The jury team received nearly the same questionnaires used for Chauvin’s trial, with only minor tweaks in place to match the circumstances of the Potter case. It does not mention Chauvin or Floyd by name.
The jurors were asked if they agreed with the “undermining the police” movement that gained momentum after Floyd’s death. They were asked whether they trusted the police – and whether it was correct to infer an officer’s actions under pressure. They were also asked if they had been affected by the damaging protests.
Prosecutors and defense counsel screened their answers carefully and probed further in court. Those with moderate views were more likely to be seated, like one man who said he opposes cutting police funding but also said: “I absolutely believe change is needed.”
Several potential jurors were asked by the defense if they had any concerns about blowback if they acquit Potter. The only black person to make it to the jury, a woman in her 30s, said “I don’t have to worry.”
One of the few direct mentions of Floyd came from a woman who said his case “caused a lot of trauma to our city” and that it upset her. She said she didn’t like the negative attention it brought. Minneapolis but said a positive outcome of the protests are important issues being discussed.
She has replaced the jury.
As with Chauvin, the Potter trial is being streamed live, a rarity in Minnesota, partly a concession to the high public interest and partly due to pandemic considerations. The courtroom features strategically placed clear plastic partitions.
Watchers will see some identical faces to those who successfully prosecuted Chauvin: Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank and Erin Eldridge sat at the prosecution table, with their boss Keith Ellison regularly present. in the courtroom.
Security was increased for the trial, with some entrances to the court closed. But the tall chain link fences, razor wire and concrete barriers for Chauvin are gone, as are National Guard soldiers and armored vehicles patrolling the area this spring. And the building is open to the public.
Find the full AP report on the Daunte Wright case: https://apnews.com/hub/death-of-daunte-wright
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/kim-potter-daunte-wright-george-floyd-derek-chauvin-shadow-b1971056.html Shadow of Floyd case, Chauvin hangs after Kim Potter trial