Former Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, police officer Kim Potter killed Daunte Wright by firing a single bullet to his chest, a county medical examiner testified Monday at her criminal trial.
Dr. Lorren Jackson, the assistant medical examiner at the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office, testified that the gunshot wound was the sole cause of death for Wright. The manner of death was a homicide, he testified.
“Was this a survivable injury?” the prosecutor asked Jackson.
No, he responded. Survival times for such an injury would be just seconds to minutes, he told the jury.
The bullet did not leave Wright’s body, he said, but “made a hole in the skin” otherwise known as a partial exit wound. He said he could feel the bullet directly below the skin.
The medical testimony came on the second week of Potter’s trial on charges of first- and second-degree manslaughter for killing Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, in April.
Video from the scene shows that officers had pulled over Wright and moved to arrest him when he attempted to get back in his vehicle and flee. Potter pulled out her firearm and shot him — and then admitted that she had meant to use her Taser instead. “I grabbed the wrong f***ing gun and I shot him,” she said afterward.
Prosecutors have argued she was negligent and acted recklessly in the fatal mixup. Her defense has characterized the killing as an accident but argued she was within her rights to use deadly force to protect another officer.
Potter has pleaded not guilty and is expected to testify in her own defense.
Immediately after the shooting, Wright’s car veered across traffic and crashed into an occupied vehicle.
Wright had superficial, blunt force injuries to his face, including abrasions and lacerations to the lip, Jackson testified Monday, December 13, 2021. Yet he affirmed that the gunshot wound, which struck Wright’s heart, was the sole cause of death.
“Far and away the gunshot wound to the chest was the most significant injury,” he said.
Two other people were injured in the car crash after Wright was shot. Alayna Albrecht-Payton, who was in the passenger seat of Wright’s car, testified last week she suffered lacerations to her face and lip as well as a broken jaw and concussion.
In addition, Patricia Lundgren, 84, testified last week her 86-year-old husband was injured in the crash, and their daughter testified that her father’s mental state had deteriorated since then. He is now in hospice care, the family said.
In a cross-examination of Jackson, the medical examiner indicated that Wright had a high level of THC in his system at the time of death consistent with marijuana use. Jackson said the use of marijuana had no bearing on Wright’s cause of death.