Ex-cop who confused Taser and gun guilty of manslaughter – National & International News – FRI 24Dec2021

Kim Potter (center), the ex-cop who mistakenly shot a driver earlier this year, has been found guilty of manslaughter. Prosecution seeks maximum sentence.

 

 

Ex-cop who confused Taser and gun guilty of manslaughter. Canceled flights, extreme weather promise wild holiday weekend. U.S., Japanese militaries plan for “Taiwan emergency”.

 

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Ex-cop who confused Taser and gun guilty of manslaughter

Kim Potter, a former Brooklyn Center, MN, police officer, has been found guilty of first- and second-degree manslaughter in the death of a black motorist Daunte Wright, 20. The incident happened earlier this year in the Minneapolis suburb, just days before ex-Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murdering George Floyd.

Potter and an officer she was training stopped Wright for expired license plates and an air freshener hanging from his rearview mirror. They then learned Wright had a warrant for failing to appear in court on a weapons charge. Wright was initially cooperating until the trainee officer attempted to cuff him, at which point he got back into his car and went to drive off. Potter then yelled, “I’ll Tase you” twice, and “Taser! Taser! Taser!”, before pulling the trigger. But instead of her Taser, Potter had pulled her 9mm pistol. She shot Wright point blank in the abdomen.

A dazed Wright then sped off before crashing into another car head on. His girlfriend, who was in the passenger seat, was injured but survived.

Mishap or menace?

Even if Potter had pulled her Taser instead of her pistol, she still would have been in violation of her own department’s regulations. Brooklyn City’s policing protocols specifically prohibit Tasing anyone who is behind the wheel of a vehicle. Prosecutors argued that Potter’s actions not only cost Wright his life, but needlessly endangered other members of the public, when Wright could easily have been apprehended later.

At no point after the shooting Wright did Potter attempt to render aid. She did bemoan her own plight, saying “I’m going to prison”.

The prosecution also contended that Potter’s failure to immediately inform her superiors about the shooting ultimately delayed other officers in helping Wright when he eventually crashed. The officers who responded to the crash had only been informed that Wright might have had a weapon (he didn’t). For that reason, they hung back for 8.5 minutes before finally approaching Wright’s vehicle and pulling out his lifeless body.

The typical sentence for 1st degree manslaughter is 7 years. But, due to these aggravating factors (known as “Blakely factors”), prosecutors are pushing for the maximum sentence for Potter’s convictions- 15 years in prison. Sentencing will take place in February.

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Canceled flights, extreme weather promise wild holiday weekend

Anyone planning to travel anywhere in the U.S. for the next few days may be in for some unwelcome surprises. Due to staffing shortages, airlines have canceled more than 2000 upcoming flights globally. These include at least 454 flights within, into or out of the U.S. While some airlines have not confirmed the reasons for the staffing shortages, some say they’ve experienced a sudden uptick in call-outs from employees sick with the COVID-19 omicron variant.

On top of that, several states are experiencing extreme or unseasonable weather. An “atmospheric river” is dumping snow in parts of the western U.S. including Oregon and Washington State. The entire region from western Washington State to Southern California are under flash flood warnings. Two have already died south of San Francisco after their car became trapped in flood waters due to heavy rains. There’s also a risk of mudslides, especially in areas that were heavily affected by wildfires over the summer.

In the central and southern states, forecasters say to expect “spring-like” temperatures in the 70s and 80s.

 

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

U.S., Japanese militaries plan for “Taiwan emergency”

A Japanese news agency says that the military leadership in the U.S. and Japan have drawn up a joint plan of action in the event of a “Taiwan emergency”. The “emergency”, presumably, would be a Chinese invasion of Taiwan.

Diplomatic tensions over the self-governing island have been rising steadily in recent years. China considers Taiwan to be a renegade province. Although the U.S. provides Taiwan with the means to defend itself, diplomatic policy with regard to the dispute has long been “hands off”. That started to change during the Trump administration. Biden has largely carried this policy forward as Beijing has assumed a much more militaristic posture towards reunification.

In what was considered an unguarded moment, Biden recently said that the U.S. would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion. The agreement with Japan seems to be one leg of this “defense”. Additionally, Australia’s defense minister said last month that it was “inconceivable” that Australia would not join the U.S. in defending Taiwan militarily, should it come to that. Biden officials have been making frequent trips to various Asian countries to shore up its influence in the region, seemingly in preparation for a broader regional conflict. 

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