By Nathan Layne
(Reuters) - Jurors ended their third day of deliberations on Wednesday without reaching a verdict in the trial of Kimberly Potter, the former Minnesota police officer who mistook her handgun for her Taser and killed Black motorist Daunte Wright.
The jury, which has now deliberated for about 24 hours, had submitted a question to the judge on Tuesday that suggested it was struggling to come to a consensus on whether to convict or acquit Potter on two manslaughter charges.
The panel of six men and six women did not ask any questions on Wednesday, offering no further hints on the contents of its discussions. Jurors will return to the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis on Thursday morning for a fourth day of deliberations.
Potter, 49, has pleaded not guilty to first- and second-degree manslaughter charges, which carry maximum sentences of 15 and 10 years, respectively. Potter said she thought she was drawing her Taser when she shot Wright in the chest with her 9 mm handgun during a traffic stop on April 11.
In their closing arguments on Monday morning, prosecutors said Potter acted recklessly and with "culpable negligence" in drawing the wrong weapon, while the defense argued that Wright caused his own death by resisting arrest and attempting to flee, and that Potter was justified in using force.
Potter is white and the shooting of Wright triggered several nights of protests outside the police station in Brooklyn Center, a suburb of Minneapolis, with critics calling it another example of police brutality against Black Americans.
The incident occurred just a few miles north of where Derek Chauvin, a white former Minneapolis police officer, was at the same time standing trial in the case of George Floyd, a Black man whose 2020 death during an arrest set off racial justice protests in many U.S. cities. Chauvin was convicted of murder.
(reporting by Nathan Layne in Wilton, Connecticut; Editing by Alistair Bell and Peter Cooney)