‘Accidental’ killer cop flees angry mob

 

Protests have raged across the US for the third night in a row as tensions continue to rise over the shooting death of Daunte Wright, with demonstrators setting fire to a police building overnight.

Police officer Kim Potter fatally shot the 20-year-old African American man after pulling him over for a routine traffic stop on Sunday in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.

Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon told reporters the shooting had been "accidental" after Ms Potter mistook her gun for her taser.

Mr Wright's death has sparked a series of protests across the US, with demonstrations held in Minneapolis, Portland, New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago.

A demonstration in Portland quickly spun out of control after about 100 people set out on a "direct action" march from Kenton Park to the Portland Police Association office.

RELATED: Photos show US city on the brink

Protesters set the Portland Police Association office on fire. Picture: Portland Police Bureau
Protesters set the Portland Police Association office on fire. Picture: Portland Police Bureau

 

Fire crews were able to put out the blaze. Picture: Portland Police Bureau
Fire crews were able to put out the blaze. Picture: Portland Police Bureau

By 10pm the group had started lighting fires around the police building, local news reported.

One fire had been lit behind the building, people shot fireworks towards the office and others appeared to use accelerants on a door to ignite another blaze, police said.

A riot was declared about 10 minutes after the group arrived at the building, with police saying they arrested one person.

Firefighters quickly arrived at the scene and were able to extinguish the blaze.

In Minnesota more than 60 people were arrested on Tuesday night, State Patrol Colonel Matt Langer told reporters, after hundreds protesters gathered outside the Brooklyn Center police headquarters.

A crowd also descended on the home of Kim Potter, who has been charged with manslaughter over Mr Wright's death.

 

 

 

Potter and her husband reportedly fled the five-bedroom home after the address was shared on social media.

People threw bottles and other projectiles at the building, prompting police to respond by firing rubber bullets, tear gas and stun grenades into the crowd.

Mr Wrights death came at a time when racial tensions were already high in the midwestern US city due to the trial of Derek Chauvin, the white policeman charged with murdering George Floyd by kneeling on his neck during an arrest in May, 2020.

His death set off a national reckoning over racial injustice, with waves of protests held across the country.

Officer charged over Daunte Wright's death

Potter has been charged with manslaughter over the killing of Mr Wright and now faces 10 years behind bars.

The veteran police officer was booked under a second-degree manslaughter charge after being taken into custody at 11.30am local time on Wednesday, with charges filed later that day.

"With that responsibility comes a great deal of discretion and accountability. We will vigorously prosecute this case and intend to prove that Officer Potter abrogated her responsibility to protect the public when she used her firearm rather than her taser," Imran Ali, Washington County assistant criminal division chief said.

"Her action caused the unlawful killing of Mr Wright and she must be held accountable."

 

The maximum sentence for the charge is a 10-year jail sentence and a $20,000 fine.

The fatal shooting occurred after Mr Wright was pulled over during a routine traffic stop on Sunday just outside Minneapolis.

After he gave the officers his name, the 20-year-old reportedly called his mum and told her he had been pulled over for hanging air fresheners from his rear view mirror.

However, on Monday, Police Chief Gannon told reporters that Mr Wright was originally pulled over for an expired tag and officers only noticed the item hanging from the rear view mirror when they approached the car.

After running his name, the officers discovered there was a gross misdemeanour warrant out for him and attempted to arrest him.

Police body camera footage of the shooting shows officers pulling Mr Wright out of his car before scuffling briefly with the officers and getting back into the driver's seat.

Daunte Wright, 20, with his one-year-old son.
Daunte Wright, 20, with his one-year-old son.

 

 

Potter can be heard shouting "I'll tase you" and then "taser, taser, taser" before pulling out her gun and shooting the 20-year-old.

"Holy s**t, I shot him," Potter said.

Mr Wright managed to drive away but crashed his car a short time later after dying from his gunshot wound.

Police claimed the shooting was "accidental" but Mr Wright's family have refused to accept this claim.

"While we appreciate that the district attorney is pursuing justice for Daunte, no conviction can give the Wright family their loved one back," said the Wrights' family lawyer Ben Crump after the arrest.

"This was no accident. This was an intentional, deliberate, and unlawful use of force.

"We will keep fighting for justice for Daunte, for his family, and for all marginalised people of colour."

Originally published as Cop flees as mob surrounds her house