Daunte Wright’s family members have joined with community leader in calling for more serious charges against a white police officer in Wright’s death, comparing her case to the murder charge brought against a black officer who killed Australian woman Justine Ruszczyk Damond in nearby Minneapolis.
Former Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter was charged with second-degree manslaughter in Sunday’s shooting of Mr Wright, a 20-year-old black man, during a traffic stop.
The former police chief in Brooklyn Center, a majority non-white suburb, said Ms Potter mistakenly fired her handgun when she meant to use her Taser.
Both the chief and Ms Potter resigned on Tuesday.
Ms Potter – who was released on $US100,000 ($A129,055) bond hours after her arrest on Wednesday – appeared alongside her lawyer Earl Gray at her initial appearance on Thursday over Zoom, saying very little.
Mr Gray kept his camera on himself for most of the hearing, swivelling it just to show Ms Potter only briefly.
Her next court appearance was set for May 17.
Hennepin County Judge Paul Scoggin reminded Ms Potter that while out on bond she must remain lawful, make all court appearances and not possess or transport firearms or explosives.
Protesters who have confronted police all week since Mr Wright’s death.
Mr Wright’s family members say there’s no excuse for the shooting and want Ms Potter to face more serious charges.
“Unfortunately, there’s never going to be justice for us,” Mr Wright’s mother, Katie Wright, said on Thursday.
“Justice isn’t even a word to me. I do want accountability.”
Wright family lawyer Ben Crump said “full accountability, to get equal justice” is all the family wants – “nothing more, nothing less”.
Crump and other advocates for Mr Wright point to the 2017 case of Mohamed Noor.
The black former Minneapolis police officer fatally shot Ms Damond, a white woman who had dual US-Australian citizenship, in the alley behind her home after she called 911 to report what she thought was a woman being assaulted.
Noor was convicted of third-degree murder in addition to second-degree manslaughter and sentenced to 12 and a half years in prison.
Ms Potter’s charge carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence.
Intent isn’t a necessary component of either charge.
A key difference is that third-degree murder requires someone to act with a “depraved mind,” a term that has been the subject of legal disputes, but includes an act eminently dangerous to others performed without regard for human life.
Noor testified that he fired to protect his partner’s life after hearing a loud bang on the squad car and seeing a woman at his partner’s window raising her arm.
Prosecutors criticised Noor for shooting without seeing a weapon or Ms Damond’s hands.
Many critics of the police believe the race of those involved in the Mr Wright shooting played a role in which charges were brought.
“If the officer was black, perhaps even a minority man, and the victim was a young white female affluent kid, the chief would have fired him immediately and the county prosecutor would have charged him with murder, without a doubt,” said Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Ms Potter could have easily been charged with third-degree murder, which carries a 25-year maximum sentence, said Rachel Moran, a law professor at the University of St Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.
But she noted that one difference between the Noor and Ms Potter cases is that Ms Potter will likely argue using the gun was a mistake, while Noor never said he didn’t intend to use his weapon.
“This is kind of the compromise charge, which isn’t to say it’s not serious. It is,” Ms Moran said.
“But they’re not reaching for the most serious charge they could theoretically file. They’re also not washing their hands and saying she has no criminal liability.”