Kim Potter, former Minnesota police officer sentenced to two years in prison for killing of Daunte Wright

Samuel Weinmann, Politics Editor

Kim Potter, the ex-Minnesota police officer charged in the death of Daunte Wright, has been sentenced to two years in prison by Judge Regina Chu. Potter was also fined $1,000 by the Minnesota court.

Although she was sentenced for 24 months, only 16 months will be time spent in prison; the remaining eight months will be spent on supervised release on grounds of good behavior.

“This is not a cop found guilty of murder for using his knee to pin down a person for nine and a half minutes,” Chu said. “This is a cop who made a tragic mistake. She drew her firearm, thinking it was a taser, and ended up killing a young man.”

The killing occurred on April 11, 2021, during a traffic stop with Wright, who was driving with his girlfriend at the time. According to NPR, Wright was initially pulled over for hanging an air freshener from his rear view window––a traffic violation in Minnesota. However, after evading an attempt to be handcuffed, Potter threatened to use her taser.

Although she attempted to pull out her taser, she pulled out her handgun instead, shooting into Wright’s side, ultimately killing him.

This alleged mistake has sparked intense debate about Potter’s intentions. She had been a police officer for 29 years, and had received extensive training in handling firearms and tasers.

According to Seth Stoughton, a professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law, in an interview for ABC News, “The use of deadly force was not appropriate and the evidence suggests a reasonable officer… could not have believed it was proportional to the threat at the time.”

This statement is consistent with the views of other experts. Despite this, the Minnesota court ruled that Potter’s actions were a mistake, resulting in a sentence that was significantly lower than what the prosecution sought.

“I’ll never be able to forgive you for what you’ve stolen from us,” said Katie Wright, Daunte’s mother during trial. “My life and my world will never ever be the same again.”

This decision comes at a time when many people are still awaiting justice in relation to a long history of police killings.