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Juxtaposition: Kim Potter Resigns, Faces Manslaughter Charges; Jason Ravnsborg Keeps Job, Faces Misdemeanors

In Minnesota on Sunday, Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter killed a man through, in the most generous interpretation, a failure to pay enough attention to the deadly equipment she was using in a stressful situation. On Tuesday, Potter resigned from her job in law enforcement, acknowledging that “it is in the best interest of the community, the department, and my fellow officers if I resign immediately.” On Wednesday, she was arrested, mugshot, and charged with second-degree manslaughter:

The Washington County Attorney’s Office announced the charges Wednesday.

“Certain occupations carry an immense responsibility and none more so than a sworn police officer,” said Imran Ali, an assistant county attorney and head of the county’s major crimes unit. “We will vigorously prosecute this case and intend to prove that Officer Potter abrogated her responsibility to protect the public when she used her firearm rather than her Taser.”

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension announced Potter’s arrest earlier Wednesday. She has been released after posting a $100,000 bond [Becky Sullivan, “Officer Who Shot Daunte Wright Charged with 2nd-Degree Manslaughter,” MPR, 2021.04.14].

The prosecutors have met with the family of Daunte Wright, the man Potter killed, and have promised to “spare no resources in seeking justice for Mr. Wright.”

609.205 MANSLAUGHTER IN THE SECOND DEGREE.
A person 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 of a fine of not more than $20,000, or both:

(1) by the person’s culpable negligence whereby the person creates an unreasonable risk, and consciously takes chances of causing death or great bodily harm to another… [Minnesota State Law 609.205].

In South Dakota on September 12, Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg killed a man through, in a straightforward reading of all evidence available, a failure to pay enough attention to the deadly equipment he was operating in an unstressful, everyday situation. For seven months, Ravnsborg has openly refused to resign, despite the fact that South Dakota’s law enforcement officers have declared no confidence in his ability to continue as this state’s top cop. He has denied that he committed any crime. After five months of investigation, he was charged with three misdemeanors, none of which address directly the innocent life he took. The prosecutor of those misdemeanor charges, Emily Sovell, a law school classmate of Ravnsborg, appears not to have met with the family of Joe Boever, the man Ravnsborg killed, and has not made any particularly strong vows to secure justice for Boever’s family.

22-16-20Manslaughter in the second degree.

Any reckless killing of one human being, including an unborn child, by the act or procurement of another which, under the provisions of this chapter, is neither murder nor manslaughter in the first degree, nor excusable nor justifiable homicide, is manslaughter in the second degree. Manslaughter in the second degree is a Class 4 felony [SDCL 22-16-20].

22-6-1Felony classes and penalties–Restitution–Habitual criminal sentences.

Except as otherwise provided by law, felonies are divided into the following nine classes which are distinguished from each other by the following maximum penalties which are authorized upon conviction:

…(7)    Class 4 felony: ten years imprisonment in the state penitentiary. In addition, a fine of twenty thousand dollars may be imposed… [SDCL 22-6-1]

32 Comments

  1. John 2021-04-15

    Well analyzed, Sir. The South Dakota government corruption lives.
    If only the South Dakota press were a fraction as good as you with facts and analysis.

  2. bearcreekbat 2021-04-15

    In my view the Minnesota manslaughter statute places a much more difficult burden of proof on the prosecution than the South Dakota statute. Under this burden it seems it will be very difficult to convict the Minnesota officer of manslaughter since it requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the officer acted “consciously” in pulling out her pistol. She reportedly claims, and the video seems to confirm, that she conciously thought she had retrieved her taser, and was completely unaware that she pulled out her pistol instead.

    Under this Minnesota statute requiring proof of a “conscious” act, a prosecutor will likely a have difficult time proving this was a conscious act rather than an unintended accident. Nevertheless, the prosecutor in Minnesota apparently concluded that whether the officer acted consciously would be a jury question and that going forward with the charge is still justified, despite the more difficult burden of proof.

    In contrast, the SD manslaughter statute doesn’t require proof of a “conscious” choice or act, but requires proof of a “reckless” act. For the life of me I cannot see how or why a SD prosecutor would hesitate to charge someone with a “reckless” act where the evidence indicated the accused broke the law (by driving outside the statutorily required driving lane on to the shoulder without any claimed justification) with a dangerous weapon (a car driven in a manner that can injure or kill somone has long been held by courts to qualify as a dangerous weapon) and killed someone as a result.

    Prosecutor Stovell’s charging decision is inexplicable, given the current state of SD law on whether someone has acted recklessly while driving an automoble and killing a pedestrian. Even if she considered proving recklessness to be difficult, whether Ravnsbug acted “recklessly” is a jury question and should have been decided by jury after hearing all the available evidence.

    Competent and effective prosecutors, apparently like the Minnesota prosecutor here, typically do not limit charging serious crimes to only to those cases where they think they will get a guilty plea or are somehow guaranteed a guilty verdict at trial.

  3. Jenny 2021-04-15

    Potter was using a Glock which I’ve heard has a couple safety clicks before it is used (help me out here people). When using a taser, shouldn’t you try to aim it at an extemity rather than the abdomen or chest?

    This was a very very negligent act on Potter and Minnesotans are so sick and tired of their police officers committing these offences.
    If she was working overtime and was tired, got freaked out because they saw he had warrants on his record, who knows. During a time of such turbulence, they could and should have arrested this kid another time. There are hundreds of people walking around with warrants on them in this country. It is not really a unique thing. People blaming the kid is just salt on the wound, who hasn’t done stupid things when they’re young. Black pguys eare going to be understandably nervous and anxious when he’s confronted by three police offers.

    At least we don’t have a President making racist comments on yet another death of a black guy by a police officer.
    My heart bleeds for the family. When will this insanity end.

  4. T 2021-04-15

    She is 48 …..thyroid, hormonal changes, stress, fatigue, or other factors all play with the brain. I have been so tired, I once put my cereal bowl, when finished, in the oven instead of the dishwasher. I’m not making excuses for anyone I’m just saying, we don’t know what was going thru her brain at the moment. We do know she was shocked after it happened.

  5. Porter Lansing 2021-04-15

    Kim Potter is a police union leader and has a big bag of tricks she uses to instruct bad cops how to lie and fabricate scenarios for which no jury will convict.

    Claiming you grabbed the wrong weapon is a common excuse.

    Out of fifteen instances of this defense being used only two cops were convicted.

  6. grudznick 2021-04-15

    Mandatory retirement could be in order for pre-menopausal cops in Minnesota. I’m just sayin…

    grudznick is also saying that Ms. Sovell is insaner than most, and Mr. Ravnsborg needs the book thrown at him by a fellow who can throw really hard.

  7. jerry 2021-04-15

    Kim Potter should have been drug tested for steroid abuse. The police have a bad history of drug abuse with these anabolic steroids. Not only do these steroids produce dangerous mood swings for men, for women they can worse. Drug test the police in anything that is questionable. Kim Potter had 18 years of playing with the phallic symbols of power, she damn well should have known the difference between a taser and a gun. We pay them to know.

  8. Arlo Blundt 2021-04-15

    I think the Attorney General believes he will walk away from sentencing fully capable of completing his term and,if he chooses, running for a second term on the Republican ticket. I think he believes he will be reelected to a second term as Attorney General. This is how these guys think.

  9. M 2021-04-16

    Hey grud, guys have womenopausal moments and from my experience in life, they are more insane than women. Why do you think God gave women the privilege of birthing? Men couldn’t handle the pain, responsibility, and the sanity it takes to dedicate one’s life to raise those children instead of ditching out….just sayin.

  10. V 2021-04-16

    I hate the word accident being used to describe both situations.
    Two people are dead because of them even though under different circumstances.
    Both killers need to pay for what they did with jail time and monetary compensation for the families.
    The consequences align with our rule of law.
    Both killers are white and we all know that influences the outcomes.
    That’s the systemic problem that needs to be changed.
    We need fairness and justice for all.

    As I retired teacher, I’m wondering why I had to pay for liability insurance in case I was sued by a family or individual. The school was not responsible for my behavior so I had to be insured up to 2 million just in case.
    So why are city police departments all over the country paying out for the lawsuits of officers? Why don’t they have to be financially responsible for their actions?
    I know a doctor who pays one third of her income for malpractice insurance. Cops should have to do the same thing, along with public servants who don’t know the difference between a deer and a human being. Maybe they’d be more careful.

  11. Porter Lansing 2021-04-16

    V -asks: So why are city police departments all over the country paying out for the lawsuits of officers? Why don’t they have to be financially responsible for their actions?

    V, it’s because they have “qualified immunity”. At least, in Republican states they do.

    Colorado rectified this injustice this session:
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/nicksibilla/2020/06/21/colorado-passes-landmark-law-against-qualified-immunity-creates-new-way-to-protect-civil-rights/?sh=65c4220c378a

  12. Porter Lansing 2021-04-16

    M – There’s no benefit in putting expectations on grudznick’s behavior about or around women.

    He’s a basher with no hope for education or change.

    We’re just lucky we don’t have to look at him, when he spouts his “fool’s phrases”.

  13. grudznick 2021-04-16

    It was not I who brought up the hormonal issues, Messrs. M and Lansing. However Mr. Lansing is tighter than right that he is very lucky he does not have to gaze upon the gnarled visage of grudznick, particularly around breakfast time.

  14. Porter Lansing 2021-04-16

    Someday grudz, Cory will enable “we of the bloggings” to comment with video and thus speak our mind, not just type, using only implied emphasis.
    Then, we can gaze upon each others age and ugly, at will.
    #grins
    PS … people are more civil and proper when face to face. Social media instigates more bad feelings in USA than almost anything else. IMHO

  15. When does Ravensborggg stand trial?

    Where is the outrage of the people?

    Difference is that Borggg was elected and Kim Potter was not elected. Kim Potter had a conscience, realized she made a mistake, and resigned.

    Mayor of Brooklyn Center is black and also fired the city manager.

    We don’t have leadership like this in SD. Look at No Masks ten Haaaaaken. Ending the mask mandate is making more people sick from Covid 19.

    SD gets the crappy political leaders and goosesteppers because the people fail to vote for good people!

    How many times have I been to the State Fair in Huron where Democratic Party leaders (not elected) would brag about their Farm team they were developing (Yes! They said that) when I asked them why the Democratic Party was NOT running 105 people for Legislature!

    All the tired center-right Democrats didn’t want to run. The Party wanted a farm team, instead of winning FDR, Truman or JFK style.

    If D Party can’t even vote to Impeach Ravensborgggg, then forget about them.

    We have to be the change we want to see.

    It worked for Gandhi, it worked for Obama.

    Want a space age 2021 solution ? Look in the mirror. Not the Democratic Party.

    You and I will solve the problems created by the Ravensborggian Noem Trumpian regime in South Dakota.

    We will solve the problems, somehow, and leave the Republican and Democratic Party where they belong, in the dust.

  16. Let’s not call the Republican Party by their name any more. That assumes they have read Abraham Lincoln and act like Lincoln.

    They are the RNT Party.

    Ravensborgg Noem Trump.

    Those 3 names forever define that Party.

    (Daugaaaard also, for being the Stripper of the Ethics Law. But that would make the acronym too long).

    1 innocent man killed on the road.
    2000 South Dakotan dead (from no leadership) of the virus.
    500,000 Americans dead.

    RNT

    Bad leadership kills.

  17. Jenny 2021-04-16

    I’m in a current event group at the church I go to here in MN and one of the big topics is always police brutality. There are many black families that justifiably fear for their sons being targeted by the police. If Republicans could only realize how scared these minority families feel. Many of them do not trust the police and have taken it upon themselves to not call the police when their help is needed. They fear that calling for police help will escalate whatever the situation it is they are dealing with and to work it out themselves.

    If people would just start listenimg then maybe theywould start understanding this fear and stress that so many of these families feel when it comes to policing in America. Porter is right, cops.have qualified immunity. The Police Unions should stop protecting their own bad officers and this would be a start.

  18. Porter Lansing 2021-04-16

    Minnesota cops?

    If we could attach a device to people on trial to grasp what they’re really thinking.

    I believe Derek Chauvin’s subconscious would say,

    “You think kneeling on that perp’s neck was bad? You should see what I do to Somalis.”

  19. leslie 2021-04-16

    SD 20% non-white: Republican rioter “he’s 53 years old… and has a 10th grade education” bear sprayed cops on 1.06.21, a founder of Oathkeepers, appears to be flipping on Nixon’s boy Roger Stone, pleading to two felonies.

    Certainly you have experience w/both parties, but Dems are trying to save our ass.

  20. Jenny 2021-04-16

    There are Derek Chauvins all across the country that should have been ratted out of their jobs years ago. They’re not even worried about their actions being on camera anymore. Imagine what went on before cop cameras. The good cops can not be afraid to speak out. . The Virginia cop thug assulating the black Army Officer – this gestapo like mentality towards black guys has got to stop.

  21. Porter Lansing 2021-04-16

    Agreed, Jenny
    It begins with who wants to be a cop in America. Personally, I know the guys (no women) I grew up with in Watertown, who went this route were the meanest, half-educated, bigots, and haters who were just smart enough not to get caught committing crimes of their own.
    I also know a few cops in Colorado and all make no bones about their hatred of black people. One I know, who grew up near Madison, transferred to the night shift in the suburb with the most Black people, just to have the opportunity to, as he says, “Teach them n*****s who’s boss.”

    To begin the necessary change, the Scandinavian model is worthy. Cops need a university degree or a degree from five semesters in their police academy. Extensive mental health evaluations follow. Then a group of officers and lay people must deem the candidate to have qualities necessary for the profession.

  22. Jenny 2021-04-16

    Agree Porter, there has to be some kind of.testing that will detect sociopathy in young men that want to be cops. Also, If a person comes from a broken family dynamic with an abusive racist father with 500 guns in his basement and that person has.menral health problems of ther own, they should be banned for.life from entering.a police academy.

  23. happy camper 2021-04-16

    Jenny says “Many of them do not trust the police and have taken it upon themselves to not call the police when their help is needed.” Be careful of anecdotal assumptions “A Gallup poll … surveying more than 36,000 U.S. adults found that 61 percent of Black Americans said they’d like police to spend the same amount of time in their community, while 20 percent answered they’d like to see more police, totaling 81 percent. Just 19 percent of those polled said they wanted police to spend less time in their area.” Their confidence takes a dive on personal interaction, but they are still in agreement police presence is beneficial regardless of the BLM defund narrative. “Just 18 percent of Black Americans said they felt ‘very confident’ that local police would treat them with courtesy and respect during an interaction” compared to a 48% national average. “Calls to defund and even abolish entire police departments are popular talking points among BLM activists. Miski Noor, an organizer and activist with Black Visions Collective in Minnesota, recently told WBUR that abolitionists ‘100 percent’ mean they want no more police officers.” Clearly, radical BLM does not speak for black Americans.
    https://www.newsweek.com/81-black-americans-dont-want-less-police-presence-despite-protestssome-want-more-cops-poll-1523093

  24. Porter Lansing 2021-04-16

    Police departments should be phased out, quickly.

    American law enforcement is broken.

    A new paradigm is needed to protect and serve.

  25. Jenny 2021-04-16

    Hap, are you implying that black families in my church group are exaggerating their fears of not trusting the police?
    Do you speak for them?
    I’m not going to get into it with you tonight, Hap. You could take your Gallup poll to Minneapolis and ask.them their thoughts about it. Also, do you know that some blacks purposefully don’t answer their true feelings on polls like that because of not wanting to be stereotyped as just another angry black man/woman?

  26. grudznick 2021-04-16

    I hate that, Ms. Jenny. grudznick has a couple of good friends whose wives pull just like what you are saying, and that causes a lot of angry dinner conversations when they are over for the eating. I am breaking through the barrier you espout. grudznick is on it, and making a true difference.

  27. Jenny 2021-04-16

    Take a sociology class, gruz. What blacks really want are more police officers hired from their own neighborhoods, people they can relate to, that they grew up with.

  28. happy camper 2021-04-17

    Oh, okay Jenny, so now you’re speaking for blacks. You know what they want because you talk to them at church. That’s the point of being careful about drawing conclusions, from let’s say a small sample. I think it’s very small-minded and condescending of you to say they can only relate to people they grew up with. That’s the purpose of the big tent and Brooklyn Center is only 15% black if that’s how you have to look at, which in my mind is racist. For years we’ve listened to all this bragging about how wonderful Minnesota is, how sorry you feel for us stupid people left behind in South Dakota, yet we’re all on pins and needles that Minneapolis might go up in flames after the Chauvin trial, and now this extremely unfortunate timing of what appears to be a horrible mistake. Not an accident, but a terrible, terrible mistake made by a white woman, no doubt another stupid Karen who gave 26 years of her life just waiting for the right time to kill a young black man while every police officer in the country knows the whole world is watching. But of course, Porter is right let’s get rid of the police. And really, nothing a black person ever does is really their fault. No, it’s nothing to do with the individual and the decisions they make. I’ve seen four images of Daunte Wright flashing his drug money and two more of him smiling with his illegal gun, but you don’t want to see those, and the mainstream media won’t show those to you. Instead you see the images his family gives you holding a baby. Get real and stop being stupid. The police won’t taser you, or shoot you if you simply obey their orders while they are arresting you. What a concept. And back to it’s never a black person’s fault. If a black man, and lets pretend you are that black man, would you assault an Asian woman? If you did, would it be your fault? Would you personally be responsible for hitting or killing an Asian-appearing person? No. No, no of course not Jenny, that would be ingrained white supremacy so you are not at fault. According to Jennifer Ho (another know-it-all Jenny), Professor of Asian American Studies, University of Colorado Boulder, when black people assault Asian people “The dehumanization of Asian people by U.S. society is driven by white supremacy and not by any Black person who may or may not hate Asians.” How nice Jenny that you’re not responsible for your own actions and all the stupid things you say, after all, you’re just another Jenny.
    Dwight with his drug money: https://meaww.com/daunte-wright-criminal-history-past-charges-arrest-warrant-cash-weed-gun
    White supremacy is the root of all race-related violence in the US: https://www.yahoo.com/news/white-supremacy-root-race-related-120244625.html

  29. o 2021-04-17

    I believe I can confidently speak for blacks: blacks would like the same deal I get (as a white man).

    I am however, open-minded enough to stand corrected in this belief if need be.

  30. Jenny 2021-04-18

    Darn it black guys are not supposed to have guns,.just us white folks!

    Cenk Uygur on the Young Turks said it best, the quickest way to get gun reform passed in the US would be to have armed blacks lining the streets and for.groups like The Black Panthers to step up.. What whites really want is for blacks to be disarmed.
    That drug money Wright had is supposed to be ours also,. Just who do those.black punks think they are. Haven’t they learned yet, you make one move on our
    police , you’re blown away.. Now git going get back to. your ghettos where you belong,. This is our country not theirs, they don’t need to be owning guns and let our white boys do the drug profiteering and f we catch you kneeling to the flag, well God forbid, we warned you.

    ,

  31. Porter Lansing 2021-04-18

    -One reason white, male liberals like me call for defunding police is basically the same reason young, black males flash pistols and a handful of cash.
    -Because it scares the hell out of dirt road crackers like Happy Camper.
    -When they get scared they peel away their phony façade and expose themselves for the latent white supremacists they really are.
    -That’s worth it because once they’re exposed the decisions they’re involved in, like what type of candidates are allowed to become cops, are no longer valid.
    -Progressive compromise happens faster and that’s the goal.

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