Kim Potter, a former suburban Minneapolis police officer has been sentenced to two years in prison; for first-degree manslaughter in the killing of an unarmed Black man, Daunte Wright at a fatal traffic stop in April 2021. Potter claimed she had intended to shoot him with her Taser.
Judge Regina Chu said Potter must serve at least 16 months in prison and the rest of the sentence on supervised release. The judge also gave her credit for 58 days served since being found guilty of the killing in December.
According to Aljazeera, Kim Potter had faced a potential seven-year sentence for her conviction on first-degree manslaughter in the shooting. She was also convicted of second-degree manslaughter. However, she was only sentenced for the more serious charge in accordance with state law.
“A 26-year veteran police officer made a tragic error by pulling her handgun instead of her Taser; She was acting in the line of duty in effectuating a lawful arrest.” Judge Chu said in sentencing, Kim Potter.
Nevertheless, Potter was “reckless” and there should be some “accountability”, Judge Chu said in emotional remarks on what she called one of the “saddest cases I have had in 26 years on the bench”.
How Daunte Wright Died
Police had pulled Daunte Wright over for having expired license tags and an air freshener hanging from his rear-view mirror. Wright also had an outstanding warrant for a weapons possession charge. As officers tried to arrest him, he attempted to drive away. And at that moment, Potter shouted several times that she was going to use her Taser on Wright; but she had her gun in her hand and ended up firing one shot into his chest, killing him.
The tragic shooting sparked several days of protests outside the local Brooklyn Center, Minnesota police station. These demonstrations were marked by tear gas and clashes between protesters and police.
Daunte Wright’s death became another high-profile case in the Black Lives Matter movement that has swept the United States since the killing of George Floyd in nearby Minneapolis in May 2020.
Speaking before the sentencing, Katie Wright, Daunte’s mother; said on Friday, that she would never be able to forgive the former suburban Minneapolis police officer who had shot and killed her son.
Addressing the court during Friday’s hearing, Katie Wright said she would only refer to Potter as “the defendant” because Potter, who is white, only referred to her 20-year-old son as “the driver” at trial.
“She never once said his name. And for that, I’ll never be able to forgive you. And I’ll never be able to forgive you for what you’ve stolen from us,” Katie Wright said.