Black Lives Matter
Ex-Cop Who Killed Daunte Wright Sentenced to Two Years in Prison
18 February 2022
The former Minnesotan police officer who killed Daunte Wright has been sentenced.
On Friday, Judge Regina Chu sentenced Kim Potter to two years in prison over the 20-year-old Black man's death, which occurred last April during a traffic stop when she mistook her handgun for a Taser. Potter was previously been convicted on first and second-degree manslaughter charges in December but was only sentenced on the first-degree charge, per Minnesota law.
Prosecutors had initially asked for seven years and two months, given that Minnesota sentencing guidelines recommend the first-degree manslaughter charge carry a six to 8 1/2 prison-year sentence, with a maximum sentence of 15 years. However, Chu said she handed down the more lenient sentence after determining that Potter wasn't "a cop found guilty of murder for using his knee to pin down a person for nine and a half minutes as he gasped for air" in reference to George Floyd's murder.
“This is a cop who made a tragic mistake. She drew her firearm, thinking it was a Taser, and ended up killing a young man," Chu added, echoing pleas made by Potter's lawyers about her lack of a prior criminal history and remorse for Wright's death.
She also defended her ruling by saying that Potter was trying to protect another officer while "doing her job in attempting to lawfully arrest Daunte Wright" after officers tried to arrest him on an outstanding warrant. Potter had shot Wright when he got back into his car and attempted to drive off, which led him to crash into another vehicle. He was later pronounced dead at the scene.
According to the New York Times, Potter's light sentence — which also means she will only be in prison for 16 months with the rest on parole — was condemned by Wright's family, with father Arbuey Wright saying he felt "cheated and hurt" before accusing the judge of showing more concern for Potter than his son.
“They were so tied up into her feelings and what’s going on with her that they forgot about my son being killed,” he said. “We actually thought we were going to get a little justice.”
Read the New York Times's full report here.
Photo via Getty / Stephen Maturen