Kimberly Potter, the former Brooklyn Center, Minnesota cop charged in the shooting death of Daunte Wright was sentenced to 24 months, 16 months in prison and a third of the sentence on supervised released on Friday (February 18). A Minnesota judge handed down the sentence after a jury convicted Potter of first-degree manslaughter charges in December 2021.
In a court filing this week, state prosecutors requested a less-than-usual sentence for Potter, requesting just over seven years compared to the 15-year maximum possible under state guidelines. Hennepin County Judge Regina Chu said that aggravating factors were not added to the sentencing because prosecutors "did not meet its burden of proof."
Chu quoted former President Barack Obama while handing down the sentence, asking people to extend empathy to Potter who she says, "never intended to hurt anyone."
Potter shot Wright on April 11, 2021 during a traffic stop over air fresheners and expired license plates. The 20-year-old father of one's family said he was out to get his car washed when Potter and the rookie officer she was supervising at the time made the stop.
Graphic body camera footage shows the fatal encounter in which Potter can be heard yelling, "Taser!" multiple times while reaching for her gun. Defense lawyers claimed the shooting was a tragic error while prosecutors argued it was evidence that Potter could not "do her job" –– a job she'd held for 26 years.
During the sentencing hearing, Wright's parents and the mother of his two-year-old son gave heart-breaking testimonies.
"Daunte's life was cut short by Kim Potter, who claims she thought she had a Taser. She pointed a gun into my son's chest, pulled the trigger, not only killing Daunte by damaging his heart to the point of unrepairable... but she also damaged my whole family's heart. Nothing will ever be the same," Arbuey Wright said.
"Everything we do as a family ends in tears, because all we have is memories left of our son. What should be happy times turns into sadness," he added.
Chyna Whitaker, the mother of Daunte Wright's son, said Potter "took my son's best friend away from him and things haven't been the same since."
Potter also spoke during the hearing, apologizing to the Wright's and the community of Brooklyn Center.
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