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Judge: Behavior errors on table at ex-cop’s homicide trial

November 3, 2021 GMT

A judge says attorneys for a former suburban Minneapolis police officer on trial for fatally shooting a Black motorist can call a witness at trial to testify about behavior errors.

Defendant Kim Potter said she meant to use a Taser instead of a handgun when she shot and killed 20-year-old Daunte Wright after he was stopped in April for a traffic violation. Potter is charged with first- and second-degree manslaughter.

Defense attorneys have said they plan to call forensic and police psychologist Laurence Miller to discuss “slip and capture errors,” which they believe caused Potter to mistakenly fire her handgun instead of her Taser.

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Prosecutors had filed a motion to exclude or limit Miller’s testimony, arguing that it was “not relevant and would not be helpful to the jury.” However, Hennepin County District Judge Regina Chu issued an order earlier this week rejecting the motion, the Star Tribune reported.

“Minnesota courts have routinely admitted expert testimony on psychological phenomena such as battered-woman syndrome, counterintuitive post-rape conduct, and post-traumatic stress disorder,” Chu wrote, noting that courts usually limit such testimony to describing the syndrome and its characteristics.

Chu said Miller can explain “action error” and “slip-and-capture error” but cannot say whether he believes Potter suffered from the condition.

Trial is set for Dec. 6.