MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - Jury selection continued Wednesday in the trial of Kim Potter, the former Brooklyn Center police officer charged with manslaughter in the shooting death of Daunte Wright.
Eleven potential jurors were interviewed on Tuesday, with four of them chosen to be on the jury. Five more jurors were selected on Wednesday, making the total seated nine.
Judge Regina Chu wants 12 jurors and two alternates before opening statements next week. FOX 9 is streaming the trial live, gavel to gavel, at fox9.com/live and on the FOX 9 YouTube channel and the FOX 9 News App.
Kim Potter (right) sits with her defense attorneys at her trial in the shooting death of Daunte Wright.
Potter, who is white, is charged with first-degree and second-degree manslaughter for shooting and killing Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, during a traffic stop on April 11. The defense claims the shooting was an accident, that Potter mistakenly grabbed her gun instead of her Taser when she fatally shot Wright. But, prosecutors say Potter was reckless and negligent and should go to prison.
While interviewing potential jurors yesterday, Potter’s defense team revealed the former officer will take the stand in her own defense.
"Officer Potter will testify and tell you what she remembered happened," said defense attorney Paul Engh. "So you will know not just from the video, but from officers at the scene and officer Potter herself what was occurring. I think you would be quite interested in what she has to say."
Before jury selection resumed on Wednesday, Judge Chu addressed Potter, telling her she is free to change her mind about testifying. If she decides not to take the stand, she may request instructions to be read to the jury detailing it is her right not to testify and that it should not be held against her if that is what she chooses.
Opening statements are scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 8. Judge Chu estimates the trial will wrap up by Christmas Eve.
9 jurors seated
Four jurors have been now been chosen on the second day of jury selection.
Juror No. 22 is a long-time RN studying to be a nurse practitioner. He said he recalls watching a 5-10 second video of the deadly traffic stop shooting. He said he had "neutral" opinions about Potter and Wright coming into the case.
Juror No. 17, the first juror questioned on Wednesday, is a young woman who appears to be a blank slate for both sides as she has little prior knowledge of the case or legal system.
The defense had only one question for Juror No. 17 before passing her. Prosecutor Matthew Frank questioned the juror over her answer on the questionnaire that she does not support defunding the police.
"You're always going to need police officers," she said. "There are always going to be bad things that happen. You need them."
Juror No. 19, a teacher and mother of two, was the sixth juror seated overall. She is a permitted gun owner and also owns a Taser for person protection, but has never used it.
The juror admitted she has seen the body camera video of the Wright shooting three to four times. She told the attorneys that the Daunte Wright shooting was a "terrible situation," but said she is willing to judge the facts.
Juror No. 21 is a father who has previous experience on a jury. He told the court he sat on a jury about 10 years ago for a case involving trespassing by protestors. In his questionnaire he admitted to having a negative opinion of both Potter and Wright based on his knowledge of the case.
Juror No. 22 was the eighth person to be seated on jury. He is a longtime registered nurse who is studying to be a nurse practitioner. He recalled watch a short video clip of the deadly shooting on the news and said he had "neutral opinions about Potter and Wright coming into the case.
After the lunch break, Judge Regina Chu dismissed Juror No. 25 for cause The prospective juror told defense attorney Earl Gray she wasn’t sure she wanted to serve on the jury because she felt the weight and importance of the trial on the community and "I frankly just don’t want to be in the middle of it."
Juror No. 26 was the ninth person to be seated on the jury, despite originally saying she did not want to serve on the jury for several reasons, including because she has finals and job interviews coming up. She also said she is a private person and is concerned about how public the trial is. However, she told Judge Chu she would be willing to serve because she believes it is her civic duty.
The defense used their second peremptory challenge to strike Juror No. 20 from the jury. He was a father of three who indicated in his questionnaire he had a "somewhat negative" opinion of defendant Kim Potter. He expressed several opinions about how minorities are treated in society and by the criminal justice system, which likely caused the defense to be concerned whether he could set aside those feelings and assumptions and render a fair verdict. The defense can strike five jurors without giving an explanation while the state is allowed three.
The state used the second of their three peremptory challenges to strike Juror No. 28. The state's last peremptory challenge was used to strike Juror No. 32.
How to watch the Kim Potter trial
Judge Chu has allowed cameras in the courtroom and for the Potter trial to be streamed live. The Potter trial will be streamed live, gavel to gavel, on fox9.com/live, the FOX 9 YouTube channel and the FOX 9 News App. Download the app for Android or Apple.
Where jury selection stands
Jury selection began on Tuesday, Nov. 30. Judge Chu has set aside one week for jury selection.
- Nine jurors seated--four men and five women
- State has used all of their three peremptory strikes
- Defense has used two of their five peremptory strikes
The following jurors have been seated on the jury:
- Juror No. 2: White man in his 50s. Works as an editor in neurology dealing with medical evidence. Testified that he has an unfavorable view of "Blue Lives Matter." Has always wanted to serve on a jury.
- Juror No. 6: White woman in her 60s. Retired special education teacher. She lost one of her four children two years ago to breast cancer.
- Juror No. 7: White man, 29 years old. Overnight operations manager at Target and bass guitar player in a local alternative rock band. Took a firearms safety class when he was a teenager.
- Juror No. 11: Asian woman in her 40s. Works in downtown Minneapolis and said she was concerned about the unrest following the killing of George Floyd.
- Juror No. 17: White woman in her 20s or 20s. Has little prior knowledge about the case or legal system.
- Juror No. 19: Black woman in her 30s. Mother of two and a teacher. Owns a gun with a permit and a Taser for personal protection.
- Juror No. 21: White man in his 40s. Father with previous experience serving on a jury.
- Juror No. 22: White man possibly in his 50s. Registered nurse for over 25 years, currently studying to be nurse practitioner. Gun owner. He also manages properties.
- Juror No. 26: Woman. She is in school and has finals and job interviews coming up, but said she was willing to serve if selected.
How will the Potter trial jury be selected?
Jury selection began on Tuesday, Nov. 30 and is expected to take about a week.
Judge Chu has ordered the identities of the jurors to remain a secret for the duration of the trial, so they will only be referred to by a random, previously assigned number. At the conclusion of the trial, the judge will decide when the jurors’ identities can be made public.
The court asked potential jurors to fill out a 13-page questionnaire asking about their knowledge of the case, police connections, attitudes towards the legal system and their media habits. The answers were provided to the attorneys and the judge prior to the start of jury selection.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys will be able to question the prospective jurors over their questionnaire responses during jury selection. Over a dozen potential jurors have already been dismissed, likely over their answers on the questionnaire.
READ NEXT: What to know about the Kim Potter trial
During jury selection, prosecutors and Potter’s defense attorneys will question each potential juror one at a time, separately from the others. The defense is allowed five peremptory challenges while the state has three. Attorneys do not have to provide a reason for why they object the juror when using a peremptory challenge. Potential jurors can also be struck from the jury for cause, meaning there is a reason to believe the juror is unfit for a fair trial. There is no limit on the number of jurors who can be removed for cause.
The jury will be partially sequestered during the trial and fully sequestered during deliberation, although Judge Chu may order full sequestration at any time.
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