Kim Potter sentenced for 2 years in Daunte Frank's Death

MINNEAPOLIS (AP), Kim Potter, a former Minneapolis police officer who claimed she mistook her Taser for her handgun when she fatally shot Daunte Witter, was sentenced Friday at 2 years in prison. Wright's family criticized the sentence for being too light and accused the judge, Kim Potter, of being "taken in by a white woman's tears."

Kim Potter sentenced for 2 years in Daunte Frank's Death

Kim Potter sentenced for 2 years in Daunte Frank's Death

MINNEAPOLIS (AP), Kim Potter, a former Minneapolis police officer who claimed she mistook her Taser for her handgun when she fatally shot Daunte Witter, was sentenced Friday at 2 years in prison. Wright's family criticized the sentence for being too light and accused the judge, Kim Potter, of being "taken in by a white woman's tears."

In December, Potter was convicted of first-degree and second-degree manslaughter for the April 11 murder of Wright, a black motorist aged 20. Potter was convicted in December of first- and second-degree manslaughter in the April 11 killing of Wright, a 20 year old Black motorist.

Wright, who was in tears before the sentence was delivered, said that Potter had never forgiven her and that she would refer only to her as "the defendant" since Potter only called her son "the driver" during trial.

"She never said his name once. And that's something I won't be able to forgive. Wright also said that he will never forgive Wright for the things he's taken from them.

She said, "Daunte Demetrius Wayne Wright, I will continue fighting in your name until driving when Black is not longer a death sentence."

Wright's family was offered an apology by Potter, who then spoke directly to his mother, Katie: "Katie. I understand a mother’s love. My heart is broken for you all.

Judge Regina Chu stated that she received hundreds of letters supporting Potter's case. She imposed a sentence below the state guidelines. "One side was the death of a young man, and the other was the tragic mistake made by a 26-year-old veteran police officer when she pulled her Taser instead of her handgun."

Chu stated that the lesser sentence was justified because Potter was "in line of duty" and trying to arrest Daunte Wright. Also, Potter was protecting another officer who could have suffered serious injuries if Wright drove off. The shooting occurred during Derek Chauvin's murder trial in George Floyd's death. It sparked several days' worth of protests outside Brooklyn Center's police station, marked by tear gas and clashes with police.

Ben Crump, Wright's family attorney, stated that the Wright family was shocked by the sentence and said they couldn't understand how a white officer was considered in the murder of a young Black male. Justine Ruszczyk, a Black officer, received a more severe sentence for the 2017 killing of a white female.

"What we see is the legal system in Black & White."

However, the judge stated that the case was not comparable to other high-profile police killings.

"This isn't a cop who was found guilty of murder because he used his knee to hold a person down for 9 1/2 minutes while he gasped for breath. Chu stated that Chu was not guilty of manslaughter in the shooting death of his partner. Chu said, "This cop made a terrible mistake."

The state guidelines for first-degree manslaughter are slightly longer than six years, to around 8 1/2 years, for someone like Potter who has no criminal record. The presumptive sentence is just over seven years.

The presumptive sentence was correct, according to the prosecution. However, defense attorneys requested a sentence that is below the guidelines and includes a probation sentence.

Before sentencing, Prosecutor Matt Frank stated that "His life matters and that life was taken." His name is Daunte. We must say his name. He wasn't just a driver. He was a human being. He was a living being.

Paul Engh, the defense attorney, told the judge Wright's death was "beyond tragedy for everyone involved." However, he also stated that it was not an intentional crime. It was an accident. It was an accident.

Engh stated that if Potter was placed on probation, she would be open to meeting with Wright's family as well as to speaking to officers about Taser mismatches, as suggested in prosecutors.

Engh also displayed a box that contained what he claimed were "thousands of letters" and cards of support for Potter.

Engh stated that "people took the time to write her." Engh said, "This is unusual for a defendant. "I dare to say that no one in the room has ever seen anything similar."

The evidence at Potter's trial revealed that officers discovered that he was facing an outstanding warrant for a weapon possession charge. They tried to arrest him, but he fled. Potter was heard shouting several times that she would use her Taser against Wright. However, she still had her gun and shot one shot into Wright's chest.

Chu stated that Potter would serve two-thirds or 16 months of her sentence in prison with the remainder on parole. She has been granted credit for 58 days.

Potter has been in Shakopee's state-run women's prison since her guilty verdict. Her lawyer said that Potter's mental and physical health have declined since she was kept in isolation for her safety.

Wright's siblings and father addressed the court to express their grief.

Chyna Whitaker (the mother of Wright's child) stated Friday that Wright would never get the chance to play with him or to see him go to school.

Whitaker stated, "My son shouldn’t have to wear the'rest in Peace' shirt of his father."

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