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Kim Potter Trial, Dec. 14 Live Updates: BCPD Commander Testifies To Potter’s Taser Training

UPDATE (12 p.m.): The state has finished questioning Brooklyn Center Police Department Cmdr. Garett Flesland, and the defense will now cross-examine.

The prosecution spent most of the time after the morning break questioning Flesland about Brooklyn Center’s Taser policies and training.

Flesland testified that training is required for officers to carry a Taser, and that officers are required to perform a “spark test” with their Taser before each shift.

The state showed multiple documents verifying Potter was certified and repeatedly re-certified to carry a Taser.

The state also showed multiple still images of how Potter holstered her Taser while on-duty. In those images, she carried it on her left side in what’s called the “reaction draw” position, meaning the Taser’s handle is pointing backward.

UPDATE (11:20 a.m.): Judge Regina Chu said that, if Kim Potter is convicted, there will be a separate trial for Blakely, or aggravated sentencing, factors.

This was discussed in court during the jury’s morning break. Prosecutor Matthew Frank said this was previously discussed in chambers, and his recollection was that the defense agreed to a unitary trial. In court Tuesday, however, Potter and the defense team said they prefer a bifurcated trial.

UPDATE (10:45 a.m.): The jury is excused for a 20-minute break as Judge Regina Chu and counsel discuss Blakely, or aggravated sentencing, issues.

Before the break, the state continued to question Brooklyn Center Police Department Cmdr. Garett Flesland about department policies.

Prosecutor Matthew Frank asked Flesland to read parts of the department handbook, including policies regarding use of force, firearms and when to both initiate and terminate pursuits.

Frank specifically asked about the department’s policies about firing at moving vehicles, which Flesland acknowledged is discouraged but not outright prohibited.

As Frank asked Flesland about the policies, he also asked the commander to confirm whether and when Kim Potter acknowledged those policies, as officers are required to do.

UPDATE (10:15 a.m.): The state’s first witness of the day is Cmdr. Garett Flesland of the Brooklyn Center Police Department.

Flesland said he’s known Kim Potter since he joined the department in 2000, and has acted as her supervisor “for a few brief periods.”

The state’s questioning mostly concerned BCPD policies and training. Prosecutor Matthew Frank asked Flesland to read certain lines of the department’s Code of Ethics and explain what those lines mean to him.

He said when he puts on the badge in the morning, it’s a reminder that he’s sworn to serve and protect the public.

UPDATE (9:20 a.m.): Judge Regina Chu has also denied the state’s motion to limit the opinion of witnesses who are not testifying as experts.

UPDATE (9:15 a.m.): Judge Regina Chu has denied the state’s motion to permit questions about police officers’ union membership as a way to determine bias.

Prosecutor Matthew Frank said the state’s intention was “not to cast aspersions, of course, on unions,” but was about “the context of this case.”

“The specific context here is a union that provides services and defense for its members when they are questioned about their job performance, and those are very serious matters,” Frank said. “That sort of defense, that assistance is a little bit different than a lot of unions.”

“There’s no showing of bias and the individuals they’re concerned about weren’t in the union anyway,” defense attorney Paul Engh offered in rebuttal.

Chu ruled questions about union membership were not relevant to show bias and denied the motion.

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Testimony will continue Tuesday in the trial of former Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter, but first the judge is expected to rule on two key motions.

Potter is charged with manslaughter in the death of Daunte Wright, whom she fatally shot during a traffic stop in April. She says she meant to use her Taser, not her gun.

The state filed two motions Monday. One seeks to limit the opinion of witnesses who are not testifying as experts. The other seeks permission to question police officers about union membership as a way to determine bias.

READ MORE: Public Employees Association Opposes State’s Motion To Question Officers About Union Membership

Potter served as union president in Brooklyn Center. Prosecutors argue her elevated status gives her a level of respect and admiration that makes fellow union officers biased in her favor.

That motion is getting some pushback from the Minnesota Public Employees Association. The organization released a statement denouncing the motion and noting the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office is unionized.

Tuesday will mark the fifth day of testimony in Potter’s trial. On Monday, the jury heard from an assistant medical examiner and multiple Bureau of Criminal Apprehension employees.

READ MORE: Kim Potter Trial, Dec. 13: Jury Presented With Technical Testimonies On Tasers, Guns

The man who performed Wright’s autopsy, Dr. Lorren Jackson of the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office, established Wright’s cause of death: a gunshot wound to the chest.

BCA agent Sam McGinnis testified to the differences between a Taser and a Glock pistol, which Potter says she mistook for each other when she shot Wright.

The prosecution pointed out the weight difference in the weapons. Potter’s lawyers pointed out the similarities, including the trigger mechanisms and general shape of both weapons.

Source: CBS Minnesota

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