A former Minnesota police officer has been found guilty of manslaughter after fatally shooting a black man during a traffic stop.
Kimberly Potter shot and killed Daunte Wright in a Minneapolis suburb after claiming she mistook her gun for her taser in April 2021.
Mr Wright, who was 20, was pulled over for having expired licence plate tags and an air freshener hanging from his rear-view mirror.
A 12-member jury found Potter, 49, guilty of first-degree and second-degree manslaughter.
Potter, who broke down last week on the stand as she testified to her remorse for the shooting, showed little emotion as Judge Regina Chu read the verdict.
“We will be taking Ms Potter into custody and holding without bail,” Judge Chu said.
The shooting sparked multiple nights of intense demonstrators in Brooklyn Center, a suburb of Minneapolis.
It happened just a few miles north of where Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, was at the same time standing trial for killing George Floyd, a black man whose 2020 death during an arrest set off protests in US cities over racism and police brutality.
Chauvin was convicted of murder. Both he and Potter are white.
Caught on Potter’s body-worn camera, the basic facts of the incident were for the most part not in dispute.
Both prosecutors and the defence attorneys agreed that Potter mistakenly drew the wrong weapon and never meant to kill Mr Wright.
At issue was whether the jury would find her actions to be reckless in violation of the state’s manslaughter statutes, or chalk up the incident to a tragic mistake that did not warrant criminal liability.
Throughout the trial, prosecutors stressed Potter’s 26 years as a police officer, a level of experience they said made her mistake indefensible.
They said she disregarded her training, which included taser-specific courses in the months before the shooting, and took a conscious and unreasonable risk in using any weapon against the unarmed Mr Wright.
Potter’s attorneys sought to blame Mr Wright for resisting arrest, which they argued had created a dangerous situation and justified her use of force.
While acknowledging her mistake, they said her actions were not criminal because she thought she was using her taser and was unaware she had drawn her handgun.
The defence also leaned heavily on Laurence Miller, a psychologist who testified about “action error”, in which a person takes one action while intending another.
Dr Miller said such mistakes were common and could be triggered by stress.
To secure a conviction on the first-degree manslaughter charge, prosecutors were required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Potter caused Mr Wright’s death while committing the misdemeanour offence of recklessly using a firearm, according to Minnesota law.
For second-degree manslaughter, the jury was required to find Potter was guilty of “culpable negligence,” meaning she created an “unreasonable risk and consciously” took a chance of causing Mr Wright death or serious bodily harm.