Virginia gun case: fired police officer fired for shooting shooter says she had right to use force

Virginia college that fired Kim Potter for firing shots that killed a robbery suspect says she had the right to use deadly force The former supervisor of a college police officer fired for fatally…

Virginia gun case: fired police officer fired for shooting shooter says she had right to use force

Virginia college that fired Kim Potter for firing shots that killed a robbery suspect says she had the right to use deadly force

The former supervisor of a college police officer fired for fatally shooting a robbery suspect has told a grand jury that Kim Potter did not have a right to use deadly force, and was the victim of verbal abuse and suspension from work for fear of being sued, according to court documents.

Kim Whalen said Potter’s supervisors, including Whalen, knew she had the right to use deadly force in the standoff that ended with the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright at John Paul Jones Jr university in June 2017.

“Ms Potter had a verbal abuse process,” Whalen said in her testimony during the grand jury investigation, according to an FBI report. “Ms Potter was suspended from the job several times.”

Officers at the college in Henrico County, Virginia, fired 20 rounds that killed Wright. They said Potter pulled out her gun after Wright pointed a gun at her face and threatened to kill her. However, Whalen said in her testimony that Potter told Whalen a couple of weeks before the shooting that the man had a gun, and asked her to leave Potter alone.

“[Potter] went out and retrieved a machete, and she was out there ranting and raving,” Whalen said.

Prosecutors presented their evidence against Potter to the grand jury on Thursday. The grand jury ended the day with no action. Potter’s lawyer, David Howe, said they had no choice but to request a new grand jury. He noted that he only learned that prosecutors had rested their case after the grand jury’s conclusion.

“We’re glad to see an end to this chapter. But we’re still anxious to see what happens in the second phase. And we’re anxiously awaiting the outcome,” Howe said.

In a statement on Wednesday, the college said Whalen had been asked by Potter to investigate Wright’s violent conduct, and said Whalen’s testimony “offers a striking contradiction to claims by Potter, who has steadfastly maintained that she used lethal force only after Wright’s threatening conduct, and that she was frightened and felt threatened”.

Since Potter was fired, she has been barred from other police agencies in Virginia. A number of a Virginia politicians and local media have called for her to be reinstated, and the governor and the attorney general have said they would support a plea to have Potter reinstated. The Charlottesville police chief also has expressed sympathy with Potter’s plight, as well as encouragement for the grand jury to act quickly.

The university defended its position to the grand jury, saying it was “not the role of a university to attempt to make judgements about the appropriateness of use of force, if any, by a professional law enforcement officer under the circumstances described in the present case”.

Officials said the university hired Potter, a retired soldier, after an extensive search and background check that included an FBI fingerprint check.

“The district attorney’s office has maintained throughout that Potter was justified in her use of deadly force, and that no criminal charges against Potter are warranted,” the school said.

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