Former police officer Kim Potter, who shot and killed Daunte Wright during a traffic stop because the young Black man had an air freshener dangling from his rear-view mirror, testified in her own defense.
The disgraced officer’s time on the witness stand allowed astute social media observers to react with visceral observations.
As she described reaching for her Taser but instead pulling out her gun and shooting Wright, Potter broke down in tears leading to a break in the proceedings.
But many observers didn’t buy the tears.
“Kim Potter tryna do her best Rittenhouse impression on the stand right now,” Bree Newsome Bass, an artist, activist and grassroots organizer tweeted.
The tweet counted as an apparent reference to Kyle Rittenhouse, who a jury acquitted weeks earlier following testimony in which he appeared to break down on the stand. His “crying” was also sans tears.
Social media users also dragged Potter for not acknowledging Wright.
“Kim Potter has yet to say Daunte Wright’s name. It’s either ‘he,’ ‘him,’ or ‘driver.’ This is important because she has yet to acknowledge him. He’s just another person she saw as a criminal and killed. She cried in fear of prison and not remorse,” Sheridan Lair, a self-described cynical humor enthusiast, tweeted.
Public defender and Law Crime Network analyst Olayemi Olurin went further.
“Black people lose their lives in situations white people could never imagine even being in,” Olurin wrote. “Daunte Wright was pulled over because Kim Potter said his air freshener was hanging incorrectly. Imagine even being pulled over for that pretextual reason, let alone shot and killed for it.”
Potter only took the stand because “she knows how powerful white women’s tears can be,” wrote activist Ebony Noor. “White women’s tears have cast a powerful spell. She is guilty and needs to go jail.”
Potter had worked for the Brooklyn Center Police Department for 26 years when she said she mistook her gun for a Taser and used to kill Wright, 20.
Wright appeared to have resisted arrest from another officer who revealed he had tried to arrest the young man for missing a court date on a previous gun charge.
Body camera videos of the shooting showed Potter shouting that she would use her Taser on Wright. “Taser! Taser! Taser!” Potter yelled but fired her service weapon instead.
Prosecutors argued that Potter acted recklessly and dangerously.
The former officer faces charges of first-degree and second-degree manslaughter. If convicted, she faces as much as 25 years in prison.
Potter admitted that Wright posed no real threat during her testimony and that she had not seen him with a weapon.
Perhaps one of the most damning parts of her testimony occurred when the prosecutor displayed photos of her gun and Taser.
“These items look different, don’t they?” Prosecutor Erin asked.
“Yes,” Potter responded.
“You stopped doing your job completely . . . you were focused on what you had done because you had just killed somebody,” Eldridge argued.
Following her testimony on Friday, December 17, the defense rested its case.