- Six men and six women have been selected to serve on the jury in former cop Kim Potter’s trial.
- Potter faces manslaughter charges for the shooting death of Duante Wright, a Black man, in April.
- The Minnesota jurors are anonymous, but many worried about their identities becoming public.
After four days of jury selection, six men and six women have been selected to serve on the jury in former Minnesota police officer Kim Potter’s manslaughter trial.
Potter faces first- and second-degree manslaughter charges for the death of Duante Wright, a Black man. She has pleaded not guilty.
Potter and her partner pulled Wright over in April for driving with an expired license plate in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis.
On body camera footage police released, Potter can be seen shooting Wright in the chest while shouting “Taser!”
The trial is expected to start on December 8 and last until December 23. But Judge Regina Chu raised the possibility of starting the trial early to avoid potential conflict with the Christmas holiday.
The court will keep members of the jury anonymous until after the trial concludes in accordance with Minnesota law. Potential jurors were asked if they had ever been victims of a crime and if they were satisfied with how the police handled their complaints if they decided to report the crime.
The court dismissed more than a dozen potential jurors from the case.
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Here’s what we know about the jurors selected:
- A man who works as an editor of a medical publication.
- A woman who is a retired special education teacher. Her daughter died of breast cancer on January 1, 2019, and she’s worried she may be emotional during the trial.
- A man who works as an overnight manager at a Target distribution center and plays bass guitar in a rock band that had toured across the United States.
- A woman who said she was concerned about the unrest in Minneapolis following the deaths of George Floyd and Duante Wright.
- A woman who recently graduated from college and said she did not have much understanding of how the legal system works.
- A woman who is a teacher and a mother of two. She said she owns a purple Taser but has never used it and has never taken any training classes for it.
- A man who served as a juror over 10 years ago for a case of “protestors trespassing” and said he enjoyed the experience of serving on a jury.
- A man who works as a nurse and is studying to become a nurse practitioner. His wife is an attorney and she previously worked for the public defender’s office.
- A woman who is a full-time student.
- A man who works in IT and previously worked as a teacher and a police officer. He said he gave up his dream job of being a police officer because he was “afraid I’d have to end up using my gun.”
- A woman who works in IT. She indicated on her jury questionnaire that she thought Duante Wright “shouldn’t have been killed over an expired tag.” She told the judge she thinks she can leave her opinions about the case out of her decision-making.
- A man who works as a field systems engineer for a cybersecurity company and enjoys dressing in steel armor and battling his friends with metal weapons on the weekends. He said he thinks there is a problem with systemic racism in the criminal justice system.
Here’s what we know about the alternates selected:
- A woman who said she felt sadness over Duante Wright’s death. She said she generally trusts the police but “there are occasions where we cannot trust police.”
- A man who is the father of a two-year-old.
Jurors worried about their identities becoming public
Several potential jurors expressed to the judge that they were concerned their identities would become public during or after the trial. The court had to stop live-
the trial at one point to question a juror who had been seated because he was upset that his identity had already become public.
On the first day of jury selection, Potter’s attorney, Earl Gray, referred to a potential juror by his last name and asked him the name of the rock band that he plays in during a line of questioning, making him easily identifiable.
According to KARE 11 reporter Lou Raguse, the juror told the court his phone started “blowing up” as soon as he left court on the first day of jury selection. He told the court he wasn’t aware that the proceeding was being live-streamed, Raguse reported.
The man’s company even tried to find him a different place to sleep after his identity became public, KARE 11 reported.
Gray apologized to the man and said he hoped that he would not hold the fact that his identity had become public against Potter. The man accepted Gray’s apology and said he would not, according to Raguse.
The prosecution used a Batson challenge
Judge Chu rejected a Batson challenge — an argument that one of the defense’s strikes was rooted in discrimination — that the prosecution raised, and allowed the defense to dismiss a potential juror.
Potter’s defense team used a peremptory challenge to strike a potential juror who was a first-year law school student. The woman said she believed there was a need for criminal justice reform in the United States and the defense questioned her extensively about her opinions on police.
The prosecution exercised a Batson challenge after the defense struck the woman from the jury, arguing that the defense’s decision was based in discrimination because the potential juror was a young Asian woman.
Judge Chu rejected the challenge and noted that two jurors seated on the jury are Asian.
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