25 mistakes former Police Officer Kimberly Potter made pulling over Daunté Wright.


Kimberly Potter’s gross negligence needlessly killed a young man.

Kimberly Potter may be a good person.

Most of us are.

After all, ever since Officer Michael McGee visited her Immaculate Conception Catholic Elementary School class in Columbia Heights, Minnesota to teach bicycle safety, she wanted to go into law enforcement.

“He really influenced me as a youngster that the police are good people. And, I wanted to be something like that some day.”

Kimberly Potter should never have been allowed to become a police officer.

A little girl models proper bike riding equipment. Patrol Officer Kim Potter’s journey to becoming a policer officer was inspired by a school bicycle safety visit. Safe Kids Worldwide.

At least, not an officer with the comprehensive and multifaceted powers we currently grant police, which include wielding lethal weapons.

Brooklyn Center has since implemented changes to police practice. Even so, the tragedy of Daunté Wright’s killing reflects horribly not only on this Minnesota small town’s department, but also on the practices for selecting and training of police officers across the nation. As if Officer Potter’s actions weren’t bad enough, Kimberly did not act in isolation. Sergeant Mychal Johnson — Potter’s direct supervisor — participated in the disastrous encounter.

Throughout the now notorious traffic stop of Mr. Wright in his brother’s 2011 white Buick LaCrosse — with Daunté’s girlfriend in the passenger seat and his mother at times listening through his phone — former Brooklyn Center veteran Patrol Officer Kimberly Potter repeatedly demonstrated gross negligence.

In at least 25 sad, shocking, bewildering — and ultimately, fatal — ways.

Potter allowed the probationary officer she was training — Oliver Luckey — to dictate pulling over Mr. Wright. She testified that had it been up to her, she likely would not have made the stop.

On the stand, Mrs. Potter said,

“Officer Luckey and I are considered only one officer. Because he’s in field training and he’s a probationary employee.”

With complete authority as the officer in charge, the decision to stop Daunté Wright rested only with Officer Potter.

The ACLU, among others, has long decried traffic stops for air fresheners as pretexts for harassing black motorists. Field Training Officer Kim Potter testified she would not have stopped Daunté Wright, if her trainee, Anthony Luckey, had not decided to pull him over. Screenshot/Target.com

Even after aggravating circumstances had been identified, Potter let trainee Luckey manage the arrest.

Daunté Wright had a gross misdemeanor warrant for carrying a pistol without a permit, as well as a regular misdemeanor warrant for fleeing from police. Additionally, an ex-parte order for protection had been filed against him.

Potter might have asked trainee Luckey, to step aside. In conjunction with her supervisor, Sergeant Johnson, she could have taken charge.

Had she judiciously interceded, she would have had a clear view as well as a clear communication channel with Daunté. Instead, even as her trainee confusedly continued to struggle with Mr. Wright, she impulsively pushed beside Oliver, squeezing her head and torso into the cramped space of the car.

And though she botched the handling of many of the physical mechanics involved, the presumably more experienced Kimberly might not have fumbled as badly with the handcuffs as did probationary Officer Luckey. Theoretically at least, Daunté’s breaking free and getting back into the car would then have been less of a possibility.

Resting his hand on its roof, Supervisor Mychal Johnson peers in through the passenger window of the white Buick LaCrosse. Kimberly Potter’s Squad Car Dash Cam.
Still in his probationary period, Officer Trainee Anthony Luckey asks Daunté Wright to step out of his brother’s Buick LaCrosse. Even though Daunte’s record showed two misdemeanor warrants — one for firearms possession, one for fleeing from police — and an OFP (order for protection), Field Training Officer Kim Potter allowed Luckey to conduct the arrest. Kimberly Potter’s Body Cam.

At the beginning of the encounter with no reason to do so, Potter had already un-fastened her gun’s protective snap, revealing she was pre-disposed not only to pull out her pistol, but to use it.

BEFORE signs of escalation, she stood supervising the unfolding scenario with her hand grasping her semi-automatic Glock. When she drew her gun, she immediately positioned her finger on the trigger.

Footage taken through her squad car windshield unequivocally shows then Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kimberly Potter already positioning her right hand on her unsnapped Glock, as she supervises probationary trainee Officer Anthony Luckey. Back up officer Sergeant Mychal Johnson, Potter’s supervisor, leans on the right edge of the Buick LaCrosse’s roof. Kimberly Potter’s Squad Car Dash Cam.

Potter allowed Daunté Wright to get out of his car without cautioning probationary trainee Anthony Luckey first to insist the car be turned off. Her supervisor, Mychal Johnson, also did not think to take this precaution.

With the Lacrosse’s engine engaged, Officer Trainee Anthony Luckey attempts to handcuff Daunté Wright. A running vehicle poses danger to officers, vehicle occupants, and passers by. Before Luckey asked Daunté to step out, neither Officer Potter, nor Supervisor Johnson, made sure the automobile had been switched off. Kimberly Potter’s Body Cam.

Throughout the escalation, Potter needlessly distracted herself.

As Probationary Officer Luckey attempted to handcuff Mr. Wright, she abruptly reached in and snatched what seemed to be the insurance information Daunté had been asked to provide. In so doing, she reduced her capabilities by taking away the use of one of her hands.

Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kimberly Potter places her right hand on Daunté Wright’s elbow, just before mystifyingly grabbing the insurance paper he held behind his back. Kimberly Potter’s Body Cam.
As trainee Anthony Luckey pulls out his handcuffs, Field Training Officer Kimberly Potter reaches in to grab Dauntés insurance card. Kimberly Potter’s Body Cam. 2:01:47pm
Former Officer Kimberly Potter grabs Daunté Wright’s insurance card. Kimberly Potter’s Body Cam. 2:01:47
Clearly unprepared as she moves in to assist, FTO Kim Potter switches Mr. Wright’s insurance information to her right hand. Kimberly Potter’s Body Cam.
After transferring the insurance card back to her left hand, Officer Potter inexplicably draws her gun and points it at 20 year old Mr. Wright. Trainee Luckey testified Daunté neither had a gun, nor made any move to threaten the officers. An analysis of Potter’s utility belt showed the handle of the Taser in her left holster faced back, meaning she would have had to pull it out with her left hand. Kimberly Potter’s Body Cam.
Even after just having shot Mr. Wright, Field Training Officer Potter still holds Daunté’s proof of insurance in her left hand . Because Potter’s repeatedly shouting “Taser!” necessitated fellow officers to release hold of him and of the gear shift lever, fatally wounded Daunté was able to drive for a few hundred feet. Kimberly Potter’s Squad Car Dash cam.

Under relatively predictable circumstances, Potter panicked at the first sign of difficulty.

She knew Mr. Wright had previously fled from police. Back up had been called. Her supervisor had arrived, and was assisting. Even so, as trainee Luckey attempted to cuff Daunté, she needlessly escalated the circumstances by shrieking,

“You’ve got a warrant!”

Her sudden anxiety scared the 20 year old into breaking away.

Potter did not properly supervise her trainee.

Before reaching to his belt for his handcuffs, Probationary Officer Luckey did not correctly position Daunté. Additionally, Trainee Luckey looked down and behind him to locate his cuffs.

Quickly handcuffing a detainee reduces risk of an officer using force.

Gerald Takano, a use of force specialist and law enforcement instructor, suggested proper protocol from first hand contact to locked cuffs should take only about 2 seconds.

Potter did not support Trainee Luckey nearly soon enough, nor at the most effective time. When Mr. Wright started to struggle after she raised her voice, Officer Potter might have immediately intervened to stabilize him. Instead, she did nothing until after Daunté sat back into the car.

Concerned with snatching the insurance card rather than helping secure Daunté, Patrol Officer Kim Potter is not ready, and then too late to help restrain Mr. Wright. Directly after she escalates the situation by injecting, “You have a warrant!”, he wrenches his right arm free from trainee Anthony Luckey. Kimberly Potter’s Body Cam.

Mr. Takano said,

“Once he stiffens up and shows he’s non-compliant… [the supervising officer’s] job is to move in immediately. Two officers with hands on the person. She didn’t grab him. I don’t understand why she did not grab him. It’s baffling.”

Jon Blum, Basic Law Enforcement Training Coordinator for the North Carolina Justice Academy and founder of Force Concepts, said,

“…the sooner I can stop [a struggle, the] less likely for injury to everybody. Not even deadly force — Taser or pepper spray or hands on. …The longer it takes to stop, the worse it can get for everyone. It increases the likelihood of injury. Fatigue sets in. There’s all these other things. If you’re having a hand-to-hand fight with someone on the side of the road, there’s chances it could go into the road. That’s more dangerous. …you should stop it sooner rather than later.”

Mr. Takano added,

“She’s holding the piece of paper while he is struggling. She’s not doing much while the other officer is trying to get control of Mr. Wright while he’s trying to get back into the car.”

Largely because Officer Potter has not supported Trainee Luckey in any way, Daunté slips back into the car. Kim Potter’s Body Cam.

Potter was never justified in using any kind of weapon.

Police categorize a suspect’s struggling into two categories; defensive and offensive. Defensive action, which involves the suspect trying to get away yet not taking aggressive action, never legitimizes a police officer’s firing either a Taser, or a gun.

Takano offered,

“[With a] person not complying and pulling away, wanted for a minor offense, [a] Taser’s probably not [a] justified use of force to begin with. If he was only passively resisting, pulling away, that’s defensive. Offensive would be trying to assault — that’s where the Taser starts becoming justified.”

Potter did not try to ‘de-escalate’ the situation.

She did not communicate with Mr. Wright in firm, calming, or constructive ways. Instead, she became immediately explosive. After Daunté climbed back into the car, she started screaming, “I’m going to Tase you!”.

Since, one of Daunté’s warrants involved his having previously fled from police, at the outset a capable officer might well have cautioned Daunté against repeating his mistake. Advising him that again attempting to flee would only make matters much, much worse would have been a judicious, pre-emptive step.

Indeed, over the phone, Daunté’s mother reports she heard either Trainee Luckey or Sergeant Johnson say, “Daunté, don’t run!” Yet by then, because Potter had injected needless aggression, he was already struggling to break free.

Trainee Luckey continues working to restrain and get cuffs on Daunté Wright as Officer Potter approaches from his left. She takes no steps to calm, inform, or reassure him. Properly worn with its handle facing front, Luckey’s Taser remains in his utility belt. Kimberly Potter’s Body Cam. 2:01:56pm.

Potter did not work, communicate, coordinate, or collaborate with her more experienced, and physically larger supervisor.

After Daunté’s outstanding warrants had been identified, Sergeant Mychal Johnson arrived on the scene. Throughout the encounter, he was present and participating.

Sergeant Johnson’s image reflects in the back window of the Buick La Crosse. Mychal Johnson’s Body Cam.
Trainee Anthony Luckey attempts to handcuff Daunté Wright on the driver’s side of the car. Supervisor Johnson properly positions himself behind the passenger side rear door. Though Johnson was feet away, Officer Potter did not make use of his presence. Mychal Johnson’s Body Cam.
9 seconds before Kim Potter shoots Daunté Wright, Sergeant Johnson securely holds the stick shift lever, thereby preventing Mr. Wright from controlling the car. Mychal Johnson Body Cam. 2:01:52pm
A split second after Officer Kim Potter draws her pistol, and 5 seconds before she discharges it into Daunté Wright, while continuing to hold the shift knob, Mychal Johnson reaches for Mr. Wright’s right arm. Mychal Johnson Body Cam. 2:01:56pm
While on the driver’s side, Kimberly Potter unnecessarily brandishes her pistol and points it at Daunté Wright’s exposed torso, Sergeant Johnson tightly holds Daunté’s right hand and wrist from the passenger side. Mychal Johnson Body Cam. 2:01:56pm

Potter said she confused her gun with her Taser.

Given her preparations to ready her Glock, her conclusion seems far-fetched. While approaching to supervise the arrest, she had already unsnapped her gun holster. Before Mr. Wright stepped from the car, she was already firmly gripping her pistol with her right hand.

Kimberly Potter’s weapons. Worn on the non-dominant side, the yellow taser weighs .94 pounds, is removed with a lever, and shines out green and red tracer lasers when cocked. Worn on the dominant side, the black Glock (slang for semi-automatic pistol) weighs 2.11 pounds, is readied by unsnapping a strap, and does not light up. For proper usage, both weapons require expertise, mastery and appropriate precautions. Court Exhibit 224. Screenshot/Trial Video.

Potter demonstrated lack of awareness not only of the situation, but also seemed not to pay attention to her senses.

From the time she took it from him to the time she herself stepped into a squad car to be driven back to the station almost 15 minutes later, she unwittingly grasped Daunté’s insurance card. She clutched it as she pulled out her gun, as she fired it, as the Buick La Crosse drove off. As over and over and over again she wailed, “Oh my God!” and cradled her face in her hands, she kept it in her grip. She even kept clasping it as she sat on the ground, as she turned onto all fours, and after she rose to stand. As first Oliver Luckey, then Mychal Johnson consoled her, she continued hold onto the insurance card.

Mindlessly clutching his proof of insurance in her right hand, Brooklyn Center police officer Kimberly Potter rushes toward Daunté Wright. Kimberly Potter’s Body Cam.

Proceeding as if she had no understanding she had pulled out her gun, Potter yelled, “Taser! Taser! Taser!

Over the course of 5.5 seconds, her pistol not only remained noticeable in the grip of her right hand, but also visible in her own field of vision.

Her inaccurate shouts did not appropriately alert her fellow officers to imminent gun play.

With Daunté Wright’s left leg outside the car, Field Training Officer Potter wields her gun. Though the feel and weight and color of her Glock vastly differ from those of her Taser, she says she never identified the Glock in her hand. Her pistol remained within her own field of vision for 5.5 seconds. Kimberly Potter’s Body Cam. 2:01:58pm
As Trainee Luckey restrains Daunté Wright, Patrol Officer Kim Potter already positions her finger on the trigger of her pistol. From the passenger side, Sergeant Johnson holds Mr. Wright’s right forearm and wrist with two hands. Kimberly Potter’s Body Cam. 2:01:58pm
While brandishing her pistol in her right hand and holding his insurance information in her left, Kim Potter reaches toward Daunté Wright. Kimberly Potter’s Body Cam.
Even as Officer Potter points her gun directly at Mr. Wright’s torso, she continues to grasp his proof of insurance. Kimberly Potter’s Body Cam. 2:01:59pm

Officer Potter showed little spatial perspective.

Though from her standing position, her supervisor’s hand was clearly visible securing the shifter, she seemed not to register this fact. Sergeant Johnson’s intervention made Daunté’s operating the car impossible.

Her right thigh visible just outside the driver’s compartment, Kimberly Potter doesn’t check her supervisor’s actions. As she drew her gun, Sergeant Johnson had already ensured Daunté could not control the car. Mychal Johnson Body Cam. 2:01:56pm

Potter inspected her Taser only six of her previous 10 shifts.

In order to assure proper functioning, daily ‘sparking’ was required. She hadn’t tested her Taser on the morning of the incident.

Potter did not understand the ammunition she was using.

On the stand, she said had no knowledge her Taser had been loaded with long range cartridges, which precluded the need for point blank vicinity. Long range cartridges can be effective from up to 25 feet.

Long range Taser cartridges can be effective at distances up to 25 feet, obviating the need for firing at point blank range. Ignorant of the ammunition in her Taser, Officer Potter stood unable to make informed decisions. Retail information; wcuniforms.com.

Potter did not comprehend how properly to use a Taser.

The Taser manual specifically says, “reasonable efforts should be made to target lower center mass and avoid the head, neck, chest and groin”. Though she had clear access to his hips and thighs, Mrs. Potter shot Daunté Wright through his heart and lungs.

Potter incorrectly carried her Taser.

The 26 year veteran wore her Taser on her left side with its handle facing back. She wore her Glock on her right side, also with its handle facing back.

Brooklyn Center’s police department manual instructs officers to carry Tasers on their non-dominant side, with the handle pointing front, the way trainee Lucky carried his. A front facing handle allows an officer to reach across and draw their taser with their dominant hand. Field Training Officer Potter’s incorrect positioning of her Taser made confusing her gun for her Taser more likely.

The utility belt Kimberly Potter was wearing when she shot Daunté Wright. The Taser handle incorrectly faced back. The pistol holster (her gun was seized as evidence) is leather. A protective safety strap must be unsnapped to withdraw the Glock. Her Taser holster is plastic. A lever must be depressed in order to pull it out. In her 26 years of policing, she had never before drawn her Glock. Court Exhibit 214. Screenshot/Trial Video.

Potter fired a weapon at a person behind the wheel of a running car; an action forbidden and decried as dangerous and unsafe by her own police department.

The Taser manual says Tasers should not be deployed when recipients of a shock might cause “collateral injury” due to convulsions or loss of control, for example while in position to operate a motor vehicle.

Potter fired her pistol as three people other than Daunté Wright lay in the line of fire and stood high risk of being hit.

Alayna Albrecht-Payton sat in the passenger seat, inches away from her boyfriend. Trainee Luckey stood to Potter’s immediate right. Sergeant Johnson leaned over Alayna holding onto Mr. Wright’s right hand.

There was no time for the sergeant to pull his torso from the car and out of harm’s way before Kimberly pulled the trigger. Trainee Luckey was so close to Field Training Officer Potter, the cartridge casing from her pistol ejected into his face.

The cartridge casing pops out from Officer Potter’s just fired gun and hits Trainee Luckey squarely in the face. Her screaming “Taser! Taser! Taser!”, then firing her gun, forces Luckey to let go of Daunté Wright’s left arm. Kimberly Potters’ Body Cam. 2:02:01:pm.
Fractions of a second after Officer Kim Potter discharges her semi automatic pistol, both Alayna Albrecht-Payton and Sergeant Johnson remain directly in the line of fire. Trainee Luckey grimaces at the explosion of the gun. Kimberly Potter’s Body Cam. 2:02:01pm.
A split second after she shoots him, the insurance card in Officer Potter’s left hand frames Daunté’s face. On the other side of the car, Sergeant Mychal Johnson recoils from the firing of her gun. Kimberly Potter’s Body Cam. 2:02:02pm

Potter did not render assistance.

As Daunté lay dying on the seat of his car approximately 100 yards away, Potter consoled herself as she collapsed. Rather than doing anything at all — and everything she could — to help her young victim, she thought only of herself.

After Office Kimberly Potter shot Daunté Wright, he drove away. The car veered across the road and collided with an oncoming vehicle before rolling to a stop. At the sound of the crash, all three officers turn to look. Kimberly Potter’s Squad Car Dash Cam.
After watching the car ram into another vehicle creating more injuries, Officer Potter reacts by turning away and putting her face in her hands. The white Buick LaCrosse can be seen on the left of the road moving toward the telephone pole. Kimberly Potter’s Squad Car Dash Cam.
As probationary trainee Luckey calls for assistance and Sergeant Johnson assesses the damage, Officer Potter collapses in shock, whining incoherently. The white Buick LaCrosse has come to a stop after rolling into the telephone pole. Kimberly Potter’s Squad Car Dash Cam.

Potter did not transmit information about the circumstances.

Her omission delayed medical attention to Daunté Wright, his girlfriend, and those in the vehicle his car slammed into,

Not being certain what they faced, arriving officers drew their guns, and did not enter the Buick LaCrosse to render aid to Mr. Wright until 8 1/2 minutes after their arrival. Officer Potter required her own ambulance.

As Trainee Luckey tries to console her, Officer Potter, shrieks “Oh, my God! Oh, my God! Oh my God!”. Then, “I’m going to go to prison!” On February 18th, she was sentenced to two years after having been found guilty of charges of first and second degree manslaughter. Anthony Luckey’s Body Cam.

As the minutes passed after she shot Daunté Wright, Potter demonstrated increasing mental instability. While first sitting down, and then facing the ground on all fours, she lamented she would go to prison. She stood up and became suicidal.

Over and over, she whimpered,

“Oh my God”.

Then, as Sergeant Johnson tried to reassure her, she said to him,

Just let me kill myself, Mike.”

From that point, she kept whining,

I don’t know what happened. I don’t know what happened. I don’t know what happened.

Still holding Daunté Wright’s insurance card 9 minutes after she shot him, Police Officer Potter brings her hand to her head and says to Supervisor Johnson, “Just let me kill myself, Mike.” Mychal Johnson Body Cam.

Prompted by her anguished utterances and mental instability, Sergeant Johnson took back his pistol and emptied its live ammunition. In order to preserve evidence, he had initially swapped his pistol with hers.

Concerned Kimberly Potter might harm herself, Sergeant Mychal Johnson takes back his gun and removes its ammunition. To preserve evidence, he had switched guns with her . Mychal Johnson’s Body Cam.

Three police officers — two training supervisors, and a trainee — engaging one 20 year old boy.

A small, sacred boy who they all knew had a history of running.

When shouted at by Kimberly Potter, that diminutive boy resisted being detained and stepped back into his car. Still, because, the car’s gear lever had been secured, he had no ability to flee.

Fatally wounded, Daunté was able to pull away only because the explosion from Potter’s pistol caused Supervisor Johnson to recoil and pull out of the automobile.

The initial police command should have been to instruct Daunté to turn off the engine and hand over the keys.

Kimberly said during her testimony.

“It all went chaotic.”

A chaotic interpretation.

From an incapable officer.

A reaction of distress.

From an officer who didn’t possess the necessary stability to function as a member of the police.

Through her shocking lack of fitness for the job in which she was serving, Kimberly Potter herself introduced the chaos.

Qualified police officers would not characteristically label this situation, “chaotic.”

“I was very distraught. I had just shot somebody. I had never done that.”

Kimberly Potter had never fired her gun. Not once in her 26 years on the force. Indeed, she had never even taken her pistol from its holster. She had never used her Taser; having drawn it only a few times for, in her own words, “de-escalation purposes.

The entire situation was clearly devastating for Kimberly. An officer who displays such egregiously poor judgement, and who becomes immediately incapacitated after shooting the person she was meaning to detain, should never have been issued a deadly weapon to begin with.

In response to her defense attorney’s question, Would it be routine for you to unsnap your holster?, she responded it would be routine, because…

“I’m only 5’3”. If I would get into a fight, I could lose my gun.”

Kimberly Potter listens during her trial. Screenshot Trial Video.

Being “nice”.

Intending to be helpful.

Serving in a training role.

Contributing to community.

Having good intentions.

These attributes do not qualify anybody to carry lethal weapons.

They do not qualify anybody to serve as a police officer.

Not one of them.

Perhaps, they qualify a person to serve as a counselor, a social worker, a community service provider.

However, they don’t qualify one human being to be in position to end the life of another human being.

As the prosecutor went through the shooting, Mrs. Potter’s body heaved in convulsive sobs. Tears poured down her cheeks.

“I’m sorry it happened.

I’m so sorry.

I didn’t want to hurt anybody.”

Former Brooklyn Center Patrol Officer Kimberly Potter breaks down on the stand. Her incapacity and negligence under duress not only created unfathomable tragedy, but point to deficiencies in American police training and practice. Screenshot/Trial Video.

26 year veteran former Police Officer Potter appears to be a good person.

She’s a wife.

A mother.

Over two and a half decades as best she could, she provided dedicated service.

Her utter incompetence killed a young man.

She should never have been a police officer.

We should never have allowed her to become one.

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Songwriter, Poet, Comedian, One-man show performer, Imagin-Artist, Spiritual Guide, Leader in Love: Jonathan has sung, performed, & coached all over the world.