Former Minnesota police officer Kim Potter sentenced to 2 years in Daunte Wright’s manslaughter

Written by on February 18, 2022

The previous Minnesota police officer who fatally shot Daunte Wright whereas yelling “Taser” throughout a traffic-stop-turned-arrest outdoors Minneapolis was sentenced Friday to 2 years in jail.

A Minnesota jury discovered Kim Potter, 49, guilty late last year of first- and second-degree manslaughter within the April taking pictures in Brooklyn Middle.

The primary-degree manslaughter cost carried a most sentence of 15 years in jail and/or a $30,000 nice and a presumptive sentence of six to eight-and-a-half years. However Hennepin County District Courtroom Choose Regina Chu opted to present Potter a lighter sentence than really helpful by state sentencing tips.

Potter, who has already served 58 days, is anticipated to serve 16 months in jail and a 3rd of her sentence on supervised launch. Minnesota offenders usually serve two-thirds of their time in jail and one-third on supervised launch, in accordance with The Related Press.

Katie Wright, Daunte Wright’s mom, mentioned the household was “very dissatisfied” within the ruling. “At present, the justice system murdered him once more,” Wright mentioned. “This isn’t okay. That is the issue with our justice system right this moment. White girls tears trumps justice.”

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In this screen grab from video, former Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kim Potter speaks during a sentencing hearing Feb. 18, 2022 at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis.

Arbuey Wright, Daunte’s Wright’s father, mentioned he felt “tricked,” “cheated” and “damage.”

“We truly thought we was gonna get just a little justice,” he mentioned.

Legal professional Ben Crump mentioned Wright “didn’t get the consideration that he deserved.”

“We noticed Derek Chauvin get convicted. We noticed Kim Potter get convicted. So I believe all of us allowed ourself to imagine for a second that there could possibly be an equal justice system,” Crump mentioned. “When now we have sentences like this, it makes it tough to make these arguments.”

In an announcement, the NAACP known as Potter’s sentence “a slap on the wrist.”

“As scores of Black males sit in jail for the remainder of their lives for committing non-violent crimes, Kim Potter will likely be a free lady in a single 12 months,” the civil rights group mentioned in an announcement. “This solely magnifies what we already know – the system is damaged.”

DDaunte Wright's parents Aubrey Wright (L) and Katie Wright (R) react after the sentencing hearing for former Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter at the Hennepin County Government Center on February 18, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

In her ruling, Chu mentioned “there will likely be those that disagree” with the sentence. She known as on individuals to “attempt to empathize” with Potter.

Earlier than saying Potter’s sentence, Chu referenced former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who final 12 months was convicted within the homicide of George Floyd. 

“This isn’t a cop discovered responsible of homicide for utilizing his knee to pin down an individual for 9 and a half minutes as he gasped for air,” she mentioned. 

Potter was “a cop who made a tragic mistake,” Chu mentioned. 

Chu added: “She by no means meant to harm anybody. Her conduct cries out for a sentence considerably beneath the rules.”

Chu, choking up, mentioned the sentencing was “an especially tough determination.” She known as the case “extremely uncommon” and “one of many saddest instances I’ve had on my 20 years on the bench.” Chu mentioned she obtained “tons of of tons of” of letters on Potter’s behalf that “paint a portrait of a lady who touched lots of people in a great way.”

Prosecutors had argued there have been aggravating components within the case that merited harsher sentencing. They mentioned Potter’s actions endangered different individuals and that she abused her place of authority as a police officer. However Chu mentioned the state didn’t show the aggravating components.

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Relations of Wright, who was 20 years outdated, spoke earlier than Chu’s ruling. “I’ll by no means be capable to forgive you for what you’ve got stolen from us,” Katie Wright mentioned earlier than the courtroom as she cried. “My life and my world won’t ever, ever, be the identical.”

Wright’s mom mentioned Potter “failed Daunte, our household and our group.” She famous Potter didn’t render help to her son, whose car was held at gunpoint for more than five minutes as he bled out. “She did not attempt to save him. You must have finished higher,” Wright mentioned.

Arbuey Wright mentioned his son was “each man’s dream.”

“I might watch Daunte as he slept for a few years, considering, questioning, how his future can be – what he would grow to be,” he mentioned, including, “All now we have is reminiscences left of our son.”

Two of Wright’s siblings and Chyna Whitaker, the mom of Wright’s 2-year-old son, Daunte Jr., additionally spoke. “Kim Potter took my son’s greatest buddy away from him,” Whitaker mentioned. “I’m now a single mom, not by selection however by drive.”

Daunte Wright celebrates the first birthday of his son, Daunte Jr.

Potter, who had been with the police division for 26 years, confronted Wright’s household as she spoke Friday. “I’m so sorry that I introduced the dying of your son,” Potter mentioned, including, “Katie, I perceive a mom’s love, and I’m sorry I broke your coronary heart. My coronary heart is damaged for all of you.”

Protection attorneys filed a motion late final month asking the courtroom to condemn Potter to probation as a substitute of jail, primarily based on her “exemplary profession,” “crime-free life” and “evident contrition.” In addition they argued Wright is in charge for making a state of affairs the place Potter wanted to make use of drive and mentioned Potter “will likely be a strolling goal in jail.”

“That is past tragic for everybody concerned,” protection legal professional Paul Engh informed the courtroom Friday.

Engh mentioned Potter “has monumental group help” and has obtained “hundreds” of playing cards from supporters whereas in jail. He held up a cardboard field filled with playing cards and a stack of letters submitted on Potter’s behalf and skim from a number of of them, together with some from Potter’s household.

A demonstrator carries a Black Lives Matter sign in front of a group of demonstrators calling for Kim Potter's release on probation on Friday, Feb. 18, 2022 in Minneapolis.

Potter, who’s white, fatally shot Wright, a Black man, on April 11. She and a trainee officer said they pulled Wright’s vehicle over that day as a result of he had a blinker on within the mistaken flip lane, expired tabs and an air freshener hanging from his rearview mirror.

The officers found Wright had a warrant for arrest on a weapons violation and an order of safety in opposition to him, and so they tried to detain him. In the course of the wrestle, Potter shot Wright, who drove down the road and crashed into an oncoming automobile, injuring the passenger in his car as well as two others.

At trial, protection attorneys argued Potter mistook her firearm for a Taser however was justified in utilizing lethal drive to forestall one other officer from being injured. Potter testified at the trial and mentioned she was “sorry” and “didn’t wish to damage anyone.”

Prosecutors mentioned Potter recklessly handled her firearm and triggered Wright’s dying by her “culpable negligence” – a aware and disrespect of a considerable and unjustifiable threat.

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Potter has been in state jail for the reason that conviction almost two months in the past. A predominantly white jury deliberated for greater than 27 hours within the case.

One juror who spoke anonymously to KARE-TV following the decision mentioned: “We felt like she was an excellent individual, we felt she made a mistake, and {that a} mistake doesn’t absolve you from the very fact she did commit against the law.”

Potter has been segregated from the remainder of the jail inhabitants and hasn’t had contact with different incarcerated girls, mentioned Sarah Fitzgerald, spokesperson for the Minnesota Division of Corrections.

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