Wardlow: Kim Potter verdict represents a dangerous miscarriage of justice

Ellison is eager to push a false, baseless, and destructive narrative about the police that plays to his radical and narrow political base.

Former Brooklyn Center police officer stands in court with her attorneys as the judge reads the jury's verdict. (YouTube screenshot)

Anti-police, extreme-leftist Attorney General Keith Ellison abused and misused the powers of his office, pushing forward unfounded manslaughter charges against officer Kim Potter for political reasons. The result: a terrible miscarriage of justice for officer Potter, a severe blow to police morale, and another strike against public safety.

To be guilty of first-degree manslaughter, the defendant must cause a death while committing or attempting to commit another crime with such force or violence that death or great bodily harm was reasonably foreseeable. Because officer Potter believed she was drawing her Taser, death or great bodily harm was not reasonably foreseeable. And officer Potter was attempting to arrest a criminal, not attempting to commit a crime.

To be guilty of second-degree manslaughter, the defendant must, among other things, consciously take chances of causing great bodily harm or death to another. But officer Potter did not consciously take any action that would risk death or great bodily harm to anyone. She believed she was going to tase Daunte Wright.

In my view, the manslaughter charges should not have been submitted to the jury. Indeed, the charges should not have been brought in the first instance. But Keith Ellison is eager to push a false, baseless, and destructive narrative about the police that plays to his radical and narrow political base. Instead of condemning and seeking to curb the tide of violent criminal activity that has law-abiding Minnesotans living in fear, Ellison and his radical allies seem to celebrate and encourage lawlessness. They reserve their scorn for the police who risk their lives daily to keep the public safe under incredibly difficult and dangerous circumstances.

Our police officers see the tremendous resources that Extreme Keith Ellison pours into prosecuting any officer who makes any kind of mistake. Our principal objective must be to restore law and order here in Minnesota. Creating a climate where officers are scared to do their already difficult jobs will lead to fewer officers on the street and more crime.

Even as Ellison focuses on prosecuting police, he and his radical allies allow the threat of mob violence to hang over court proceedings. When Maxine Waters came to town to join protesters following the death of Daunte Wright, urging them to “get more confrontational,” Ellison was silent. Ellison did not remind the public of the signal importance of the presumption of innocence in our criminal justice system. He did not urge protesters to respect the principle of due process. Instead, he broke curfew to meet with protesters who were also violating the curfew. By his action and by his silence, Ellison encouraged further lawlessness.

Ellison’s office has taken over the prosecution of several police officers. But despite the current unprecedented wave of violent crime, Ellison’s office has not, to my knowledge, taken over any other criminal prosecution. He appears to be singularly focused on prosecuting members of law enforcement. Through uneven and selective enforcement, Ellison is transforming the law into a political weapon. And that endangers the rule of law itself.

For the sake of justice, the rule of law, our law-enforcement community, and public safety, I hope that officer Potter’s convictions will be reversed on appeal. Even as the law must be enforced evenly, all defendants deserve due process.

To restore law and order, we must aggressively prosecute violent criminals and make an example of those who organize or plan criminal activity. We need to use our RICO law to go after criminal gangs. And we must support, honor, and celebrate our police, who strive bravely to prevent crime and bring justice to victims. As your attorney general, I will do all of these things. I will not rest until Minnesota is safe again.


Doug Wardlow

Doug Wardlow is a Constitutional lawyer and former Minnesota State Representative. He is running for Minnesota Attorney General.