The Potter trial begins with the testimony of Wright’s mother, who arrests the officer
“He looked really nervous but I assured him everything would be fine,” Bryant said in tears.
After hearing some commotion, their call was cut off and Bryant recalled frantically calling Wright back. Eventually, the passenger in Wright’s car responded to a video call by screaming and saying that Wright had been shot. Bryant was then led to the scene by a neighbor and was seen on body camera video of an officer frantically searching for his son and asking his condition and why the officers shot him dead. She also testified that she knew her son’s body was under a white sheet at the scene because she recognized his shoes, which protruded from under the sheet.
But it was the officer Potter was training who testified for most of the afternoon. Officer Anthony Luckey told the jury about his background and training, noting that he was in phase two of the four-phase field training program and his fifth team with Potter on April 11.
Luckey explained why he stopped Wright’s vehicle – for the air freshener hanging from the car’s rearview mirror, as well as for turning left while signaling right and expiring the tabs; he explained the initial conversation with Wright, which he described as respectful; he noted that Wright said he had just bought the car from his brother, to whom it was still registered, but did not have a driver’s license or insurance, and that the car smelled of marijuana.
After finding Wright’s pending warrant on a major misdemeanor weapons charge and protective order for a woman, Luckey went on to describe Wright’s second trip to Wright’s door. It was then that Luckey, Potter and Sgt. Michael Johnson informed Wright that he was arrested on a warrant. However, when Luckey went to handcuff Wright, Wright reached up and moved his arm.
“Don’t do it, brother,” Luckey could be heard saying to Wright just before Wright tried to get back into his vehicle, leaving Luckey to try to pull him out and Potter saying she would crush him. Luckey said Wright grabbed the steering wheel and was trying to get away but was not in control of the vehicle when Potter yelled, “Taser, Taser, Taser,” then fired his gun.
After the shot, Wright is heard to say, “Ah, he shot me” before the car pulls away. The body camera video then shows Potter saying, “I just shot him… I grabbed the wrong gun (curse)… Oh my God.” Potter then, in Luckey’s words, went hysterical. The video showed Potter distraught, screaming, crying and repeating “Oh my God”. At one point, she was face down with Johnson and Luckey trying to calm her down when she said, “I’m going to jail.”
Luckey also testified that he would have used his Taser in this situation because department policy states that everything is fine as long as Wright did not have control of the vehicle, which Luckey said Wright did not.
Luckey never appeared to make eye contact with Potter, who was seen in court wiping away tears as video of the incident was replayed.
The second day of the trial will begin at 9 a.m. on Thursday.
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