Former Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter has been sentenced to two years in prison for fatally shooting 21-year-old Daunte Wright during a traffic stop in Minnesota last April.
In December, a jury found Potter guilty of two counts of first and second degree manslaughter after she shot Wright when he resisted arrest and attempted to get back into his vehicle during the traffic stop. Wright, wounded from the gunshots, crashed his car shortly after driving away, according to police testimony.
During her trial last year, attorneys for Potter argued that she did not intend to shoot at Wright and had mistaken her gun for her taser. Potter testified in December that she “didn’t want to hurt anybody” and was “sorry it happened.”
Minnesota attorney general Keith Ellison had recommended a sentence of seven years and two months, roughly the standard sentence for manslaughter.
However, Potter’s attorney argued that such a sentence would be too lengthy for “someone like” Potter, who had no prior criminal record. Hennepin County Judge Regina Chu sentenced Potter to serve 24 months under “the custody of the commissioner of corrections.”
Chu ruled that Potter “shall serve two-thirds of that time or 16 months in prison and a third of supervised release.”
“To those who disagree and feel a longer prison sentence is appropriate, as difficult as it may be, please try to empathize with Miss Potter’s situation,” said Chu, who called the affair “one of the saddest cases I’ve had in my 20 years on the bench.”
Wright’s family asked the judge to give Potter the highest penalty during the sentencing on Friday. His mother, Katie Wright, said she would never be able to forgive Potter for what she had “stolen from us.”
“A police officer who’s supposed to serve and protect took so much away from us,” she added.
Wright slammed the former police officer for not rendering aid to her son after the shooting. “Please keep in mind the impact this has caused her family and herself is just a small storm that’s gonna pass, compared to our life sentence without Daunte,” she said.
Potter apologized to Wright’s family in a tearful statement before the court, saying she hopes the family may one day forgive her.
“To the family of Daunte Wright, I am so sorry that I brought the death of your family,” Potter said through sobs. “Katie, I understand a mother’s love and I am sorry I broke your heart.”