Minnesota police officer charged over shooting of Daunte Wright

Credit: AP/Press Association Images

A Minnesota prosecutor has charged a white former Minneapolis police officer who fatally shot a black motorist during a traffic stop, igniting days of unrest and clashes between protesters and police.

Kim Potter is charged with second-degree manslaughter over the death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright, Washington County Attorney Pete Orput said.

The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

“Certain occupations carry an immense responsibility and none more so than a sworn police officer,” Imran Ali, Washington County assistant criminal division chief, said in a statement announcing the charge.

“(Potter’s) action caused the unlawful killing of Mr Wright and she must be held accountable.”

The announcement came a day after Potter resigned from the Brooklyn Centre Police Department, where she had served for 26 years.

Demonstrators take cover from crowd-dispersal munitions outside the Brooklyn Centre Police Department in Minnesota Credit: John Minchillo/AP

Police chief Tim Gannon also resigned on Tuesday.

Mr Gannon had released Potter’s body camera video the day after the Sunday shooting.

It showed her approaching Mr Wright as he stood outside his car as another officer was arresting him for an outstanding warrant.

Police said he was pulled over for having expired registration tags.

As Mr Wright struggles with police, Potter is heard shouting “I’ll Tase you! I’ll Tase you! Taser! Taser! Taser!” before firing a single shot from her handgun.

Mr Gannon has said he believed Potter mistakenly grabbed her gun when she was going for her Taser.

However, protesters and Mr Wright’s family members say there is no excuse for the shooting and it shows how the justice system is tilted against blacks, noting Mr Wright was stopped for an expired car registration and ended up dead.

Demonstrators gather outside the Brooklyn Centre Police Department in Minnesota Credit: John Minchillo/AP

The charging decision was announced as the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin progresses.

George Floyd, a black man, died on May 25 after Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee against Mr Floyd’s neck.