Former Police Officer Kim Potter Sentenced to 2 Years for Killing Daunte Wright

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Former Minnesota police officer Kim Potter has been sentenced to 24 months for the killing of 20-year-old unarmed Black man Daunte Wright in April 2021.

Potter, who was convicted of first-degree manslaughter and second-degree manslaughter in December 2021, will serve 16 months in prison and the remainder on supervised release. She is also facing a fine of $1,000, and Judge Regina Chu admitted the sentence was a “significant downward departure” from guidelines.

“This is one of the saddest cases I have had in my 20 years on the bench,” said Chu. “Officer Potter made a mistake that ended tragically, but she never intended to hurt anyone.”

The sentencing comes less than a week after the Minnesota Attorney General’s office filed a motion asking for Kim Potter to receive a minimum of seven years in prison. The maximum sentence for first-degree manslaughter is 15 years and a $30,000 fine, while it’s 10 years and $20,000 for second-degree manslaughter. She pleaded not guilty to both of the charges.

Potter, a 26 year veteran of the police force, fatally shot Wright during a traffic stop on April 11, 2021, and claimed she intended to discharge her Taser instead. In bodycam footage of the traffic stop, she said, “I’ll tase you” before she reached for her firearm. “Oh shit, I just shot him,” she said in the immediate aftermath. Her firearm, a Glock 9mm pistol, was entirely black and weighed 2.11 pounds, while her Taser was predominantly yellow and weighed 0.94 pounds.

Wright’s mother, Katie Wright, gave a statement in the lead-up to the sentencing. “I’ll never be able to forgive you for what you’ve stolen from us,” she said, per the Independent. "She referred to Daunte over and over again as the driver, as if killing him wasn’t enough to dehumanize him. ... She never once said his name, and for that, I’ll never be able to forgive you. A police officer who was supposed to serve and protect someone took so much from us. She took our baby boy with a single gunshot through his heart, and she shattered mine. My life and my world will never, ever be the same."

During her victim impact statement, Wright asked the judge to hold Potter “to the highest accountability.” She highlighted that in the moments after the shooting, Potter allegedly said, “I’m going to prison.” Wright family lawyer Ben Crump said Chu’s comments during the sentencing “showed a clear absence of compassion for the victim in this tragedy and were devastating to the family,” per ABC News.

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