Ex-officer Kim Potter sentenced to 2 years in fatal shooting of Daunte Wright
Former Brooklyn Center, Minn., police officer Kim Potter was sentenced Friday to two years in prison and supervised release for fatally shooting Daunte Wright in April 2021.
Potter’s sentence includes 16 months in prison followed by eight months of supervised release after she was found guilty of first- and second-degree manslaughter in December.
The incident began when officers pulled over 20-year-old Wright for driving with an expired tag. The officers went to arrest him after discovering he had a warrant for his arrest.
As Wright struggled with officers, Potter yelled “taser” but pulled out her gun and shot him. Potter, who has said she mistakenly withdrew her gun instead of taser, was heard saying “I just shot him” in body camera footage.
Potter broke down on the stand in December, saying “I’m sorry” while she was questioned about the incident.
During Friday’s sentencing hearing, Potter said her “heart is broken” for Wright’s family and that she prays for them “many times a day.”
Wright’s mother said on the stand she would never be able to forgive Potter for what she did.
“She never once said his name [in the trial]. 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.
Potter addressed Katie in her speech, saying she didn’t look at her during the trial because she didn’t believe she had a “right” to after what happened.
Judge Regina Chu said the case was “one of the saddest” she’s seen in her 20 years as a judge.
Chu, who began crying while giving the ruling, acknowledged many would not be happy with her decision, but believed given the circumstances Potter’s case did not warrant the normal sentencing.
Prosecutors in a sentencing memo asked the judge to give Potter 86 months, a little more than seven years. First-degree manslaughter has a sentencing of 15 years in Minnesota, but judges can lower the sentence if a person, like Potter, has no criminal history.
Wright’s family lawyers said after her conviction she needed the “strongest and most just sentence possible.”
Defendants argued in their filing the sentence should be lower due to Potter having no criminal record and her remorsefulness at the situation.
“To impose a prison term here sends the message that if an officer makes a mistake, the Attorney General will be quick to charge (the Complaint was filed within days), and that officer will immediately be ruined by the publicity alone. And a few in the community will try to kill you,” Potter’s lawyers wrote, noting the threats Potter has received. The lawyers believed her house would have been burned down without protection.
Potter has been held without bail since her conviction in December.
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