Minnesota legal community surprised by Potter verdict

24December 2021

In the Star Tribune, Rochelle Olson reports: The two manslaughter convictions of former Brooklyn Center police officer Kimberly Potter brought a singular reaction from the Minnesota legal community: Most were surprised if not outright stunned. ‘That’s not to say the evidence wasn’t there’, said St. Paul-based criminal and civil attorney A.L. Brown, who said he was a ‘bit surprised’ by Thursday’s verdicts. … ‘We may be watching the shift. … This may be the age of accountability, and maybe the age of accountability can lead to reform because everybody’s got something in the game.’”

For The Guardian Joanna Walters writes, “Shouts of ‘justice’ rang out outside the courthouse in Minneapolis on Thursday afternoon as protesters who had braved freezing temperatures for days awaiting the outcome praised the verdict. Almost two hours after the [Kim Potter] conviction, Daunte’s parents, Katie and Aubrey Wright, who had sat holding hands and gulping in deep breaths as they waited for the jury’s pronouncement, emerged, accompanied by Minnesota attorney general Keith Ellison, who led the prosecution of the case. … demonstrators outside the courthouse, braced for the possibility of yet another acquittal after a fatal police shooting, became celebratory, with a brass band showing up and a man playing When the saints come marching in on a trombone as people danced.”

For The New York Times Patrick Lyons says, “One of the ways Minnesota law defines first-degree manslaughter is causing someone’s death while committing or attempting to commit a lesser crime — a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor — in a way that a reasonable person could foresee would cause death or great bodily harm. Specifically, prosecutors accused Ms. Potter of causing Mr. Wright’s death through the reckless handling or use of a firearm. First-degree manslaughter is a felony, punishable by up to 15 years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $30,000. The standard prison sentence for someone without a prior criminal record, like Ms. Potter, would be a little more than seven years.”

Brian Bakst reports for MPR: “The rush of federal money that many nonprofits received to help deliver services during the COVID-19 pandemic bumped some into the new financial realm. For those nonprofits, it’s the first time they must satisfy more-rigorous audit requirements than they normally face. ‘It’s not something that we planned for in the budget. We didn’t budget. Nobody paid for it,’ Gelgelu said last week as he examined the latest inquiry from the outside auditor. ‘So we have to try and find the resources.’”

Also in the Star Tribune, Randy Furst writes: “Chad Helton, whose decision to direct the Hennepin County Library system from his home in Los Angeles has rankled librarian staff and taxpayers alike, may have to move back to Minnesota under a policy on remote work issued last week by the county.The new policy, sent to county employees on Dec. 17 by County Administrator David Hough, states that county supervisors whose workers interact directly with the public must live in Minnesota. It takes effect Jan. 31.”

Ingrid Harbo of the Forum News Service reports: “Fred Caravetta has delivered mail to the Northwest Angle, the northernmost place in the lower 48 states, for more than 19 years. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, he leaves Warroad around 9 a.m., crosses the border into Canada, drives through Canada for 40 miles, crosses back into Minnesota and makes it to the Angle Inlet post office between 10:30 and 11. Then, he sets out from Young’s Bay by snowmobile or boat to deliver mail to Oak Island in Lake of the Woods before turning around and heading back to Warroad. On Jan. 14, Caravetta, of Warroad, likely will make his last deliveries to the residents of the Northwest Angle. He is leaving his contract with the U.S. Postal Service because of a requirement that essential workers be vaccinated for COVID-19.”

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