A former Minnesota police officer, Kim Potter, who was sentenced to two years in prison for accidentally killing Daunte Wright by using her firearm instead of the taser, released from prison.
Brooklyn Center, MN: Kim Potter was convicted and sentenced to two years in prison for the death of 20 year-old Daunte Wright but was released after 16 months in prison. She will remain on supervised release until December 2023 at the completion of the two year sentence.
Potter only served 16 months behind bars as part of the Minnesota state policy.
“Minnesota is a determinate sentencing state, meaning that individuals serve two-thirds of their sentence in prison and the remaining third on supervised release. The term of imprisonment is set by law; there is no parole board and no time off for good behavior,” said in a press release issued by the Minnesota DOC.
Minnesota DOC released Potter in the early morning hours of April 24th to avoid any public encounters. Security concerns from law enforcement were expressed. Officials stated members of the community may protest the release of the former cop, which could then turn violent.
According to the press release, it stated, “Out of an abundance of caution for the safety of Ms. Potter, DOC staff and the security of the correctional facility, the DOC commissioner directed that she be released at 4:00 am.”
The Original Incident
On April 11, 2021, the 26-year law enforcement veteran attempted to arrest Wright during a routine traffic stop. It was determined that Wright had an open warrant for failing to appear to court for a weapons charge.
According to reports, Potter believed Wright was attempting to flee from the scene. Potter later testified that she believed her partner was in serious danger of being dragged by the fleeing vehicle.
She then drew what she believed to be her department issued taser. However she mistakenly drew her firearm, and shot Wright, ultimately killing him.
Video footage from Potter’s body-worn camera recorded Potter yelling to Wright, “I’ll tase you! Taser! Taser! Taser!” and then fired a single round. Included in the video footage is Potter saying, “I grabbed the wrong f****** gun, I shot him, oh my God!”, and then collapsed in distress.
Potter was found guilty of first-degree and second-degree manslaughter by a jury.
It was largely believed by members within the court system that Potter’s actions were merely a tragic mistake. During the sentencing hearing, Potter told members of the court, “To the family of Daunte Wright, I am so sorry that I brought the death of your son, father, brother, uncle, grandson, nephew.” She then told the mother, “Katie, I understand a mother’s love, and I am sorry I broke your heart. My heart is broken for all of you.”
Judge Chu showed compassion and empathy for Potter and issued her a two year sentence. The family fought for eight years.
Judge Chu told members of the court, “This is not a cop found guilty of murder for using his knee to pin down a person for 9 and a half minutes as he grasped for air. This is a cop who made a tragic mistake.”
It is tragic cases like this that reiterate the importance of training.
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