HENNEPIN COUNTY, Minn. — Hennepin County Judge Regina Chu decided Tuesday the upcoming trial for former Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter, facing manslaughter charges in the unintentional shooting of Daunte Wright, will be broadcast live. The judge’s decision reverses an earlier ruling that would have barred the hearings from live television.
Chu addressed the recent protests at her home and said the demonstration had no impact on the reversal of her decision, Fox News reported.
“The unfortunate timing suggests the protest had an impact on the Court’s decision to allow A/V coverage,” Chu wrote in her ruling Tuesday. “The honest answer is the protest did not have any impact on the Court’s decision, nor should it. The Court’s decision to allow A/V coverage was made before the protest and it is based solely on concerns for public health and safety given the ongoing pandemic.”
Potter’s trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 30. Chu initially ruled in August that she would not allow recording or livestreaming. Under Minnesota court rules, audio and video coverage of a criminal trial is usually barred unless all parties consent, and Potter has not agreed to it, according to Fox.
“The bedrock of our democracy is the rule of law and that means we must have an independent judiciary and judges who can make decisions independent of the political winds that are blowing, protests or attempts at intimidation,” Chu wrote Tuesday. “Judges sometimes properly change their minds because of changed circumstances – the Court has here. The Court’s decision most emphatically is not a reflexive response to the recent protests at the presiding judge’s home.”
Interesting switch-up after Minneapolis protesters showed up to an address believed to be where the judge handling Kim Potter’s trial lives, demanding she allow cameras in the courtroom. #DaunteWright https://t.co/ql6lXw5CgE https://t.co/uRNgi73oEB
— Danielle Wallace (@danimwallace) November 10, 2021
“Ongoing pandemic concerns are front and center in informing this Court to reconsider its original decision prohibiting A/V coverage,” Chu wrote. “Furthermore, the public and media interest in the case appears to be more substantial than originally thought.”
- Video shows Daunte Wright brandishing handgun in woman’s bathroom prior to robbery
- Daunte Wright involved in carjacking weeks before he was fatally shot by police
- Lawsuit alleges Daunte Wright shot teen in head in 2019
Wright was unintentionally shot and killed by Potter on April 11 when she apparently intended to deploy her Taser on the suspect fighting to get away from police after they discovered a warrant connected to an armed robbery, Law Officer reported.
Wright and an 18-year-old co-defendant friend were charged with aggravated robbery in December 2019 after he allegedly directed the barrel of the weapon at a female victim, reached into her clothing, choked her, and demanded she surrender $820 in cash he knew she had tucked into her bra to pay the rent.
Wright was later accused of violating the terms of his release in the robbery case, which led to the warrant for his arrest that was discovered by Brooklyn Center Police when they stopped him for unrelated traffic infractions in April.