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US ex-officer Kim Potter charged over killing of black man

MINNEAPOLIS, USA: A US former police officer who shot dead a black motorist in Minnesota has been charged with second-degree manslaughter.

Kim Potter was arrested and later released on $100,000 bail.

Police say Potter shot Daunte Wright accidentally, having mistakenly drawn her gun instead of her Taser.

Responding to the charges, the Wright family’s lawyer Ben Crump said the killing was an “intentional, deliberate, and unlawful use of force”.

Both Potter and local police chief Tim Gannon have resigned. The killing has sparked clashes between police and protesters in Brooklyn Center – a suburb of Minneapolis – and late on Wednesday, several hundred demonstrators again defied a curfew to gather outside police headquarters.

As on previous nights, protesters threw bottles and other projectiles at police who responded with stun grenades and pepper spray.

Minneapolis is already on edge amid the trial of a white ex-police officer accused of murdering African-American George Floyd.

Read more: Protests continue as police resignations fail to ease unrest over Minneapolis shooting

Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) said Potter was taken into custody on Wednesday morning. She was booked into Hennepin County Jail on probable cause second-degree manslaughter before bail was posted.

In Minnesota state law, a person can be found guilty of second-degree manslaughter if they can be proven to have shown culpable negligence whereby they create an unreasonable risk and “consciously take chances of causing death or great bodily harm” to someone else.

Potter is due to make her first court appearance on Thursday.

The charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. Prosecutors must show that Mrs Potter was “culpably negligent” and took an “unreasonable risk” in her actions, Reuters reported.

At a news conference, Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott called for people to protest peacefully. “With the news of the decision to charge the former Brooklyn Center police officer with manslaughter comes a prolonged period of continued grieving, hurt and understandable anger,” he said.

“Our task as a city and as a leader is to allow for the expression of those very legitimate voices and to also create a pathway forward toward healing and renewal of our stability and strength as a community.”