Daunte Wright death: US ex-police officer jailed for gun mix-up shootingon February 18, 2022 at 5:31 pm

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In December, a jury convicted Kim Potter of manslaughter in the shooting death of Daunte Wright.

A demonstrator holds up a portrait of Daunte Wright outside the Hennepin County Government Center during the sentencing hearing for former Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter

Image source, Getty Images

A veteran former Minnesota police officer has been sentenced to two years in prison over the fatal shooting of a black motorist last April.

In December, a jury convicted Kim Potter, 49, of manslaughter after she killed Daunte Wright, 20, during a traffic stop.

She will spend 16 months behind bars and serve the rest of her sentence under supervised release.

Potter had mistakenly drawn her gun instead of her Taser.

Ahead of her sentencing, members of the Wright family had called for her to face the maximum possible sentence.

Katie Wright said Potter had never once said her son’s name during the trial.

“She referred to Daunte over and over again as ‘the driver’ as if killing him wasn’t enough to dehumanise him,” she said through tears.

“For that, I will never be able to forgive you.”

An emotional Potter addressed the Wright family – at first turning to face them directly – prior to her sentencing at the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis.

“You said that I didn’t look at you during the trial. I don’t believe I had a right to,” she said.

“I didn’t even have a right to be in the same room with you. I am so sorry that I hurt you so badly and my heart is devastated for all of you.”

Potter and a trainee officer pulled Wright over on 11 April 2021 in Brooklyn Center, a suburb of Minneapolis.

Police claimed he had expired licence plate tags and an air freshener unlawfully hanging from his vehicle’s rear view mirror. During the traffic stop, they found he had an outstanding warrant on a weapons violation.

Potter’s defence team claimed the shooting took place as Wright was resisting arrest. Police bodycam footage shows Potter repeatedly yelling “Taser” before firing a single shot from her pistol.

As she read out her sentencing decision on Friday, Judge Regina Chu described it as “one of the saddest cases I’ve had in my 20 years on the bench” and “an extremely difficult decision”.

While she had been “profoundly moved by the comments of the Wright family”, she said she believed Potter had made “a tragic mistake”.

She added her verdict reflects both a need for accountability and that Potter “does not present a danger of future crimes” as she can no longer serve as a police officer.

The Wright family said they were “very disappointed” by the sentence.

“I walked out of this courthouse feeling like people are laughing at us because this lady got a slap on the wrist,” Wright’s father, Arbuey told reporters.

The manslaughter charge against Potter carries a maximum sentence of 15 years and her lawyers had requested probation instead of prison time.

Prosecutors initially recommended some seven years in prison but later offered at least one year behind bars with an additional 10 years on probation.

Daunte Wright’s death occurred at a time of high tensions in Minneapolis, with the trial over George Floyd’s murder taking place nearby.

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