Kim Potter trial: Full jury seated after 4 days of questioning
MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - Jury selection wrapped up Friday in the trial of Kim Potter, the former Brooklyn Center police officer who claims she mistakenly fired her gun instead of her Taser when she fatally shot 20-year-old Daunte Wright in April.
A full 12-person jury with two alternate jurors has been seated. All 14 jurors will hear the case and the two alternate jurors will be dismissed before deliberations begin. Judge Chu confirmed opening statements will begin on Wednesday, Dec. 8.
Court is adjourned until Monday for procedural issues, but will likely be off on Tuesday, the judge said. FOX 9 is streaming the Potter trial live, gavel to gavel, at fox9.com/live and on the FOX 9 YouTube channel and the FOX 9 News App.
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.
TIMELINE: Daunte Wright's death to Kim Potter's trial
Potter’s defense team said the 49-year-old former officer will take the stand in her own defense, although Judge Chu stressed Wednesday that Potter can change her mind. She may request instructions be read to the jury explaining it is her right not to testify, and it should not be held against her if that is what she chooses.
Alternate jurors seated
The first alternate juror to be seated was Juror No. 57, an older white woman with children in their 40s. She has served on prior juries. She said she is Older white woman with children in their 40s. She said she is blessed to be healthy enough to still participate in society meaningfully and said she would be "honored to serve on the jury."
The last person to join the panel as an alternate juror was Juror No. 58, a father of a young girl who lives in Eden Prairie. One of his close friends, the godfather to his daughter, is a St. Paul police officer. He told the court in his community, he feels police do get respect.
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.
- 14 jurors seated--seven men and seven women. Three of the jurors are people of color while the rest are white.
- State used all three of their peremptory strikes
- Defense used four 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. 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 in his 60s. Registered nurse for over 25 years, currently studying to be nurse practitioner. Gun owner. He also manages properties.
- Juror No. 26: Asian woman in her 20s. She is in school and has finals and job interviews coming up, but said she was willing to serve if selected.
- Juror No. 40: White man in his 40s. Participated in the police explorers program in high school, but ultimately decided not to pursue a career in law enforcement because he was afraid of having to fire a gun.
- Juror No. 48: White woman in her 40s. Mother of 2 school-age children. Former IT project manager. Grew up on a farm outside Minnesota.
- Juror No. 55: White man in his 50s. Field engineer in cybersecurity. Navy veteran. Gun owner. Enjoys partaking in Renaissance "steel weapons fighting."
- Juror No. 57: White woman in her 70s. Mother with children in their 40s. She has served on two prior juries.
- Juror No. 58: White man in his 30s. Father of young child. Lives in Eden Prairie. He has a close friend who is a St. Paul police officer.
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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