Former Minneapolis police officer Kim Potter receives a two-year sentence for the shooting death of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. This case stems from a traffic stop gone wrong back in April of 2021. 20-year-old Daunte Wright was pulled over for what appeared to be a “routine” traffic stop due to bad lights and tags. He also had something dangling from his rearview mirror which was also a violation. The police discovered that Wright had an open warrant for his arrest during the stop. Officer Potter attempted to arrest him at that point, and that’s when the story goes off the rails and completely downhill.
Daunte Wright began to resist arrest after the warrant was discovered and it was time for him to exit the vehicle. Kim Potter, a well-trained police officer with over 20 years on the job, was the arresting officer. She declared her taser but accidentally pulled her pistol instead. She shot the gun and Daunte Wright was hit one time. He drove off, but crashed his vehicle in a very short period of time, then died as a result of his injuries. Kim Potter immediately realized her mistake and declared “I’m going to prison!” loudly on the body-worn camera footage. This most certainly was a mistake but because it happened just a short time after George Floyd and in the same city, it quickly became a political issue.
Race also plays a factor here. Daunte Wright is biracial but is seen as black by the media and protesters. Kim Potter is white. So the narrative was simply “white cop kills unarmed black man”. Some people thought Kim Potter should get the ultimate sentence for first-degree murder including (but not limited to) life in prison. In reality, this was a fatal mistake and not some sort of premeditated murder. Daunte Wright was resisting arrest and Kim Potter simply pulled the wrong instrument to handle the situation. The only question was what would she be convicted of if anything.
Kim Potter was ultimately convicted of first and second-degree manslaughter. The rumors were that her sentence could reach a maximum of 15 years. Toward sentencing day, the actual maximum was revealed to be 6 to 8.5 years. The final sentence Potter received was 24 months with 16 months prison time and 8 months supervised home release (house arrest). There will probably be a large settlement from the city to Daunte Wright’s family if there hasn’t been already… which is appropriate. The jury is still out (figuratively) on if the prison sentence fits the crime. Most logically thinking people may waver on two years, but fifteen years for an accident is entirely too much. Especially when purposeful criminals get less time for more severe actions.
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