Minnesota cop who killed Daunte Wright gets 2 years

Officer Kim Potter was convicted of first- and second-degree manslaughter in the April 11 killing.

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Former Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kim Potter stands with defense attorney Earl Gray, as the verdict is read Dec. 23, 2021.

Former Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kim Potter stands with defense attorney Earl Gray, as the verdict is read Dec. 23, 2021.

AP file

MINNEAPOLIS — The former suburban Minneapolis police officer who said she confused her handgun for her Taser when she fatally shot Daunte Wright was sentenced Friday to two years in prison, a penalty below state guidelines after the judge found mitigating factors warranted a lesser sentence.

Kim Potter was convicted in December of first- and second-degree manslaughter in the April 11 killing of Wright, a 20-year-old Black motorist. She was sentenced only on the more serious charge in accordance with state law.

For someone with no criminal history, such as Potter, the state guidelines on that charge range from slightly more than six years to about 8 1/2 years in prison, with the presumptive sentence being just over seven years.

Prosecutors said the presumptive sentence was proper, but defense attorneys asked for a sentence below the guidelines, including a sentence of probation only. 

The mother of Daunte Wright said Friday she will never be able to forgive the former suburban Minneapolis police officer who shot and killed her son.

Addressing the court during Kim Potter’s sentencing hearing for manslaughter, Katie Wright said she would only refer to Potter as “the defendant” because Potter only referred to her 20-year-old son as “the driver” at trial.

“She never once said his name. And for that I’ll never be able to forgive you. And I’ll never be able to forgive you for what you’ve stolen from us,” a tearful Wright said. 

“A police officer who was supposed to serve and protect so much took so much away from us. ... My life and my world will never ever be the same again,” she said, adding later: “Daunte Demetrius Wright, I will continue to fight in your name until driving while black is no longer a death sentence.”

Wright was killed after Brooklyn Center officers pulled him over for having expired license tags and an air freshener hanging from his rearview mirror. The shooting, which came in the midst of Derek Chauvin’s trial on murder charges in George Floyd’s killing, sparked several days of demonstrations outside the Brooklyn Center police station marked by tear gas and clashes between protesters and police.

Potter was convicted in December of first- and second-degree manslaughter in the April 11 killing.

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