UPDATE – Ex-Minnesota officer Kim Potter, who made a fatal mistake on the job, was sentenced to 16 months behind bars.
Potter killed Daunte Wright after mistaking her gun for a Taser during a traffic stop.
Prosecutors had asked for seven years, so her punishment is significantly below the recommended minimum.
Judge Regina Chu handed down the sentence in a Minneapolis courtroom over the objection of prosecutors after the former officer apologized to the victim’s family. Potter will serve 16 months in prison followed by eight months of supervised release.
Former Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kim Potter will receive her sentence on Friday, Feb. 18 following her conviction in the death of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man who was fatally shot during a traffic stop.
A Minnesota jury convicted Potter, 49, of first-degree and second-degree manslaughter in the April 11, 2021, incident. She had pleaded not guilty to both charges.
The maximum sentence for first-degree manslaughter is 15 years and a $30,000 fine and for second-degree manslaughter — 10 years and a $20,000 fine.
In a court filing on Tuesday, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison’s office announced they are seeking 86 months, or 7 years and 2 months, prison time for Potter. Sentences in the state are served concurrently, so Potter would only serve the higher sentence.
The prosecution also asked that in the event the court sentences Potter to probation, that she serve at least one year in prison “to reflect the seriousness of Daunte Wright’s death,” and that the probation last at least 10 years, according to court documents.
Potter fatally shot Wright after initially pulling him over for an expired registration tag on his car. She then determined he had an outstanding warrant for a gross misdemeanor weapons charge and tried to detain him, according to former Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon, who resigned after the incident.
As officers tried to arrest him, Wright freed himself and tried to get back in his vehicle. That’s when, according to Potter’s attorneys, she accidentally grabbed her firearm instead of her stun gun and shot him.
Wright’s death reignited protests against racism and police brutality across the U.S., as the killing took place just outside of Minneapolis, where the trial of Derek Chauvin, a former officer who was convicted of murdering George Floyd, was taking place at the time.
Potter took the stand on the last day of her trial, breaking down in tears and apologizing. “I’m sorry,” she said through sobs, “I didn’t want to hurt anybody.”
The jury deliberated for about four days before reaching a verdict on Dec. 23.
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