Call it déjà vu all over again.
Nearly one full month after the world saw killer Kyle Rittenhouse‘s acquittal following a perfectly timed emotional outburst replete with “white tears” while testifying in his own defense, a former police officer trying to convince a Minnesota jury that killing a Black man was an honest mistake employed a similar strategy that she hopes will result in her own not guilty verdict.
Kim Potter, who was a veteran Brooklyn Center police officer when she shot and killed Daunte Wright after she purportedly mistook her Taser for a gun — a flimsy theory in which prosecutors have already poked several holes — took the stand on Friday during the second week of her manslaughter trial and at first appeared relatively stoic as her lawyer questioned her.
But when the topic turned to the fateful traffic stop on April 11 when she pulled over Wright for a minor offense, Potter’s countenance began to display an increasing amount of emotion that ultimately [d]evolved into a full-blown, wrinkled up crying face, complete with her reaching for tissue paper using it to covering her face bowed forward.
Potter kept up the crying face while sobbing and weeping through her testimony.
However, there was one glaring omission from Potter’s emotional testimony: While she was audibly sobbing and using tissue for her face, there weren’t actually any tears coming out of her eyes. Potter kept speaking through gasps, sobs and weeps while her lawyer lobbed softball questions at her.
But when it came time for cross-examination, Potter’s face reverted to the previous version that was absent of any apparent remorse. Instead, while the prosecution questioned her, Potter responded with curt, one-word answers in apparent resentment.
It wasn’t until the prosecution went to the video of the shooting that Potter showed any hint of emotion again. That was when she began sniffling while a distressed look came over her face while she spoke in hushed tones.
Again, not a single tear fell from either of her eyes, let alone both of them.
Who knows, maybe Potter is one of those rare cases of people who cry without actually, you know, crying.
But conventional wisdom suggests Potter was just the latest in a long line of white defendants — especially those accused of killing — who made an overt appeal to an overwhelmingly white jury that could sympathize with her plight.
But the proof is in the proverbial pudding. Not only did Potter refuse to even try to humanize Wright — she would only refer to him as “the driver” — but the prosecution got her to admit on several occasions that shooting Wright violated department protocol (the law says that a gross warrant, for which Wright was being arrested, doesn’t call for a pursuit) and never properly prepared her equipment. Even more, still shot photos from the traffic stop presented by the prosecution show Potter with her right hand on her gun as she approached the car. Tasers are kept on the left side of holsters.
Furthermore, the prosecution got Potter to admit that Wright never threatened her physically or verbally, facts that should have eliminated the option for using any force, let alone deploying a Taser.
The legal team representing Wright’s family said Potter’s testimony proved that she must be held accountable for the death. They said Potter’s display of emotion shouldn’t mean anybody should feel sorry for her.
“While the defense attempted to garner sympathy today through Kim Potter’s testimony, we want to stress how misplaced that sympathy would be,” Civil rights attorneys Benjamin Crump, Antonio Romanucci and Jeff Storms said in part of a statement emailed to NewsOne. “As the defense rests and we look ahead to jury deliberations and a verdict, we must not forget that Daunte’s parents, his extended family, and his child are facing another holiday without him. And it’s because of the reckless and tragic choices made by former officer Potter and the failures of the Brooklyn Center Police Department in the training and development of their police force.”