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Kim Potter Trial, Dec. 15 Live Updates: Use-Of-Force Expert Says Potter’s Actions Were ‘Not Appropriate’

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Testimony continues Wednesday in the trial for Kim Potter, the former Brooklyn Center police officer who shot and killed Daunte Wright.

Below are updates, beginning with the latest.


UPDATE (12 p.m.): The state’s next witness is Professor Seth Stoughton, a use-of-force expert who also testified in the Derek Chauvin trial.

Stoughton, a former police officer, has served as an expert witness around 80 times.

He said that, in his findings, Kim Potter’s use of deadly force “was not appropriate, and the evidence suggests” a reasonable officer would not have done what she did.

When Stoughton brought up the concept of “subjective objectivity,” the defense objected, and after a brief sidebar, Judge Regina Chu excused the jury from the room to sort out the objection with counsel.

UPDATE (10 a.m.): The court is taking its morning break after more than an hour of testimony from Brooklyn Center Police Department Sgt. Mike Peterson.

It was Peterson’s second day of testifying after the prosecution questioned him Tuesday.

Wednesday began with cross-examination by the defense. Attorney Paul Engh started with questions about Tasers and firearms, and Kim Potter’s training.

Peterson, during questioning, said there have been “several” instances of officers confusing Tasers and guns, though he testified Tuesday he was not aware of anyone in the department aside from Potter having done so.

At one point, Engh asked whether confusing a Taser for a gun could be an “innocent mistake.” The state objected, and Judge Regina Chu instructed the jury to disregard the question and answer.

Engh also asked about the danger of traffic stops, and ran Peterson through a series of hypothetical questions about an incident similar to the Wright stop. When asked if using a Taser in that hypothetical scenario would be reasonable, Peterson said yes.

He also said using a Taser is a form of de-escalation.

On redirect, the state interrogated the defense’s assertion, which Peterson agreed with, that a driver without insurance is inherently dangerous.

The state also asked if Peterson has ever drawn his handgun when he meant to draw his Taser.

“Not that I recall, no,” Peterson said.

The defense’s final question to Peterson was whether officers intend to help each other during instances where decisions need to be make quickly. Peterson agreed.

UPDATE (9 a.m.): — Week two of testimony began with a flurry of witnesses Monday, but only two took the stand Tuesday: Commander Garett Flesland and Sgt. Mike Peterson, both of BCPD.

READ MORE: BCPD Use-Of-Force Instructor Testifies On Department’s Taser Training

The state questioned Flesland on Brooklyn Center Police Department policies and the extensive training Potter received.

During cross examination, Flesland, who has known Potter for more than 20 years and briefly was her supervisor, said “she’s a good cop, she’s a good person, she’s a friend.” The state objected, but Judge Regina Chu let the answer stand.

Peterson, a use-of-force instructor, spent much of his time on the stand talking through the user’s manual for the Taser used by the department, including several warnings in the manual that users shouldn’t deploy the Taser on anybody operating a motor vehicle.

Before Tuesday’s testimony, Chu denied two motions from the prosecution that sought to limit the opinion of witnesses who are not testifying as experts and permit questions about police officers’ union membership as a way to determine bias.

Chu also said, if Potter is convicted, there will be a separate trial for Blakely, or aggravated sentencing, factors.

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

Source: CBS Minnesota

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