LEGAL experts say that the defense attorney for former Minneapolis police officer Kim Potter didn't go "far enough" in his questioning, leaving behind opportunities for Potter to "explain" how the shooting happened.
Potter, a former Brooklyn Center officer, claims to have mistakenly used a gun instead of a Taser when she fatally shot 20-year-old Daunte Wright in April during a traffic stop.
John Baker, a former defense attorney who teaches at St. Cloud State University, told The Associated Press that Potter's attorney Earl Gray didn't fully address aspects of the case.
While Potter has stated that she saw "fear" on her partner Sergeant Mychal Johnson's face, Baker said Potter's attorney missed an opportunity for Potter to explain that she felt Johnson was truly in danger.
“He should’ve gone much further and asked her to testify more on that," Baker said.
Baker also questioned why Gray didn't ask Potter to explain how she mixed up her gun with her Taser, saying the defense “didn’t even address it.”
Marsh Halberg, a Minneapolis defense attorney unconnected to the case, agreed with Baker's assessment that much of Gray's questioning fell short.
“I didn’t think they pulled enough out of Potter because we did not get into her mind,” Halberg told the AP.
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Meanwhile, Baker said the prosecutor, Erin Eldridge, did an excellent job of "impeaching" Potter in her questioning.
“It was really damning when she got the video of the freeze-frame of her with her hand on what appeared to be her weapon as she was still standing by and about to come in,” Baker said.
Read our Kim Potter live blog for the very latest news and updates…
Speaking about Friday's testimony, Halberg said, “I thought today was going to be the knockout punch. But that was not the case.”
Police have said Wright was pulled over for expired tags, but they sought to arrest him after discovering an outstanding warrant.
Police body camera video shows Potter approaching Wright as he stands outside of his car as another officer is arresting him.
As Wright struggles with police, Potter shouts, “I’ll Tase you! I’ll Tase you! Taser! Taser! Taser!” before firing a single shot from a handgun in her right hand.
To remove the Taser — which is yellow and has a black grip — Potter would have to use her left hand, the complaint said.
The criminal complaint noted that Potter holstered her handgun on the right side and her Taser on the left, both with their grips facing rearward.
Wright’s family members and protesters had wanted prosecutors to file murder charges.
Wright family attorney Ben Crump has disputed that the shooting was accidental, arguing that an experienced officer knows the difference between a Taser and a handgun.
Experts say cases of officers mistakenly firing their gun instead of a Taser are rare, usually less than once a year nationwide.
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