Kim Potter ― a former Minnesota police officer who was convicted of manslaughter for the murder of Daunte Wright, an unarmed 20-year-old black man ― was sentenced Friday to 24 months.
Potter will only serve 16 months in prison and will be released on probation for the remainder of her sentence.
Hennepin County Judge Regina Chu handed down the sentence following victim impact statements from Wright’s family, including his mother, Katie Wright, who testified emotionally in court asking that Potter be sentenced to a long sentence.
“I ask you to hold the defendant to the utmost responsibility,” Katie Wright told Chu during Friday’s sentencing.
The Minnesota Attorney General’s office filed a motion earlier this week asking that Potter be sentenced to just over seven years in prison. Potter’s lawyers had asked the court for a much lesser probation sentence.
Potter, who is white, fatally shot Wright in April 2021 and was convicted of first-degree manslaughter in December. Jurors were shown body camera video of the encounter, where Wright was arrested during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, after police discovered he had an outstanding warrant.
In the video, Potter, who was training another officer that day, can be heard shouting “Taser, Taser, Taser!” at Wright, before pulling out a gun and shooting him at close range.
In her own statement during Friday’s sentencing, Potter spoke directly to Wright’s family about the hurt she caused.
“I am so sorry to have brought the death of your son, father, brother, uncle, grandson, nephew and the rest of your family to your home,” Potter said through tears. “I’m sorry for breaking your heart. … My heart is broken for all of you.
Before announcing the sentencing, Chu said the case was “one of the saddest cases I’ve had in my 20 years on the bench.”
Potter testified at her trial and maintained that she intended to use her Taser, but mistakenly drew her gun instead. Under cross-examination, prosecutors argued that Potter was an experienced officer who should have known the difference in weight between a Taser and a gun.
“So you went out on the street with a Taser, not knowing what that Taser did?” prosecutor Erin Eldridge asked Potter during the trial.
“Guess the day I worked I would know,” Potter replied. “But I don’t know, it’s been months now.”
During Friday’s sentencing, Katie Wright tearfully opened up about her son’s murder.
“Your honor, I hope the defendant is listening as I speak loud and clear today,” Wright said ahead of Potter’s sentencing. “And yes, I call her accused, because I will not give her the respect to call him by his name. She repeatedly called out Daunte as the driver. As if killing him wasn’t enough to dehumanize him, she never said his name. And for that, I can never forgive you. And I can never forgive you for what you stole from us.
“She didn’t even try to save him,” Wright added.
The Huffington Gt