The mother of a black motorist who was fatally shot by a female former police officer has said it is like he was “murdered all over again” after she was jailed for just two years.
Katie Wright said Kimberly Potter, 49, had “murdered my son” after the sentencing on Friday.
Speaking before the sentence was imposed, Mrs Wright said she could never forgive Potter and would only refer to her as “the defendant” because she had not used her son’s name during the trial.
“She never once said his name. And for that I’ll never be able to forgive you,” she said.
Potter was found guilty by a jury in December of first-degree and second-degree murder, but Judge Regina Chu gave her a lesser sentence because she was “in the line of duty and doing her job in attempting to lawfully arrest Daunte Wright”.
The judge added that Potter was trying to protect another officer who could have been injured if Mr Wright drove away.
Judge Chu said: “This is a cop who made a tragic mistake.”
Potter will spend two-thirds of the sentence in prison, with the remainder on supervised release.
‘One of the saddest cases’
Mr Wright was pulled over by Potter and a trainee officer on 11 April 2021, with officers claiming that he had expired licence plate tags and an air freshener unlawfully hanging from his car’s rear-view mirror.
During the stop, they found he had an outstanding warrant on a weapons violation and Potter’s defence team claimed the shooting took place as Wright was resisting arrest.
Bodycam footage released after the shooting showed Potter repeatedly yelling “Taser” before firing a single shot from her gun.
Judge Chu described it as “one of the saddest cases I’ve had in my 20 years on the bench” and “an extremely difficult decision”.
While she had been “profoundly moved by the comments of the Wright family”, she said she believed Potter had made “a tragic mistake”.
She added her verdict reflects both a need for accountability and that Potter “does not present a danger of future crimes” as she can no longer serve as a police officer.
Potter ‘sorry’ for hurting Daunte Wright’s family
Speaking before the ruling, Potter offered a tearful apology to Wright’s family members.
She said: “I am so sorry that I hurt you so badly. My heart is broken and devastated for all of you.”
Paul Engh, one of Potter’s lawyers, had asked the judge to consider that Wright had resisted arrest, calling him an
He stressed Potter’s remorse while labelling the shooting an “unintentional crime”.
Judge Chu said that while she believed the defendant did not pose a risk of committing future crimes, one of the key factors of the sentence was that her mistake led to Mr Wright’s death.
“In this case, a young man was killed because Officer Potter was reckless,” Judge Chu said
Shooting triggered protests
The shooting triggered multiple nights of protests both regionally and nationally.
It happened just a few miles north of where Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer was standing trial for killing George Floyd, a Black man whose 2020 death during an arrest helped set off demonstrations globally
Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes, was convicted of murder.