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Tale of Two Officers - Media Driven Outcome

Kimberly Potter

Minnesota Police Officer and another police officer pulled over Daunte Wright due to expired tags and an air freshener illegally hanging in the rearview mirror. They discovered he had a warrant for his arrest for misdemeanor weapons charges. They decided to detain him. Wright resisted and broke free from the second officer.

A third officer, who was trying to prevent the car from moving entered the car from the passenger side, and Potter, who feared for the life of the officer, screamed, "TASER! TASER! TASER!" Fired her gun striking Wright in the chest.

Potter expressed regret but stands firm that she had accidentally and under stress pulled the gun instead of the taser. She had never discharged her weapon prior to this incident, and her record as a police officer was clean.

Potter was found guilty of the charge of manslaughter in the murder of Wright.

Michael Byrd

Officer Byrd shot and killed unarmed veteran Ashli Babbit during the January 6 protests where protesters broke into the capital building. Byrd hiding behind a door shot and fired on Babbit when she and other protesters tried to enter a locked door.

Michael Byrd whose identity was withheld from the public for several months, will not face charges in the murder. When asked by Lester Holt in an interview about Babbit who did not have a firearm, Byrd claimed: "that had no influence on his decision to shoot Babbitt."

Byrd who has been accused of being careless at one point left his revolver unattended in a bathroom. No charges are going to be pressed against him.

Key differences in the two cases

Kimberly Potter is a white woman who by accident killed a black man who was resisting arrest. Her record as a police officer was clean. She genuinely felt remorse for her actions. The mass media however drove the narrative in the case and most likely influenced the jurors. Giving the victim "sainthood" status despite him having a criminal warrant on his hands and him trying to escape the police.

Michael Byrd, a black man with a history of carelessness murdered an unarmed woman during a protest. He felt no remorse for his actions. The mass media proclaimed him a hero for murdering this unarmed woman.

Despite states having sovereignty over what they declare as murder charges are to be filed and a trial-by-jury of your peers, the rules are changed when the media becomes involved. Officer Potter killed a criminal with an arrest warrant who was trying to resist arrest. It was unknown if there were weapons in the possession of Duane Wright, and clearly, she thought she pulled her taser. It was an unfortunate accident.

The media has portrayed Byrd as a hero for shooting Ashli Babbit claiming he saved many lives by shooting an unarmed woman even setting up a go-fund-me account for him. The account has raised $127,000. Due to him receiving threats and the closing of his wife's business.

Two officers, one being vilified by the media the other portrayed as a hero by the mass media two entirely different both took the life of another. However, the media was outcome-determinative in the end to their fate.

We report this to show a stark contrast in how the mass media can influence public opinion and determine who sits in jail, and who becomes a hero.

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