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.
22-16-20. Manslaughter 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].
22-6-1. Felony 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]