The former Minnesota police officer Kim Potter has been arrested and charged with second degree manslaughter in the shooting of Daunte Wright. The charge allows for as many as ten years but additionally, it has a regular that could prove challenging from the prosecution.
There is evidence that the shooting of Wright was an instance of”weapon confusion” from Potter shooting what she believed was that her taser. The case is extremely like Oscar Grant shooting discussed in my previous column. That event of weapon confusion resulted in an involuntary manslaughter conviction.
Here’s the Minnesota 609.205 supply:
Someone who causes the death of another by any of the following means is guilty of manslaughter in the second degree and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than ten years or to payment for a fine of not more than $20,000, or both:
(1) by the person’s culpable negligence whereby the Individual creates an unreasonable risk, and knowingly takes chances of causing death or great bodily harm to another; or
(2) by shooting another with a firearm or other dangerous weapon as a result of negligently thinking the other for a deer or other animal; or even
(3) by placing a spring gun, pit fall, deadfall, snare, or even just like dangerous weapon or device; or
(4) by intentionally or deliberately permitting any animal, known by the Individual to have vicious propensities or to have contributed great or substantial bodily harm in the past, to conduct uncontrolled off the owner of premises, or negligently failing to keep it properly restricted; or
(5) by committing or trying to commit a breach of section 609.378 (neglect or endangerment of a child), and murder in the first, second, or third level is not committed consequently.
Clearly, this case will turn to the first provision and whether Potter”creat[ed] an unreasonable risk, and knowingly [took] likelihood of causing death or great bodily harm to another.”
In the video, Potter is heard crying”taser, taser, taser” before she moans and says”Holy S**t I just shot him.” We’ve seen many instances of officers perplexing tasers with support weapons in conflicts.
The issue is whether such a split second error constitutes knowingly taking chances of causing death. In the Grant case, the jury rejected more serious charges in favor of their involuntary manslaughter charge.
“[S]econd-degree manslaughter under section 609.205(1) entails an element of awareness of this risk by the suspect. Stated differently, the statute requires proof of an object component and also a subjective component, the objective element being gross uncertainty as well as the subjective component being recklessness in the kind of an authentic conscious disregard of the danger created by the behaviour. This interpretation is based on the wording of this statute and, further, is in accord with the opinion espoused by the drafters of the Model Penal Code that liability for manslaughter should not be premised on”inadvertence to threat” (that is, disregarding of a chance of which one ought to be conscious ) but on a conscious discounting of a substantial and unjustifiable risk of which one actually is aware. Model Penal Code §§ 210.3, Comment 4 and also 210.4 Comment 1 (1980).”
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