Attorney General seeks 7-year sentence for officer who killed Daunte Wright
In April 2021, the 49-year-old former officer fatally shot Wright after a traffic stop for expired plates and an air freshener hanging from his mirror
Kim Potter, the officer who confused her gun with her Taser and killed Daunte Wright, is scheduled to be sentenced Friday on charges of first- and second-degree manslaughter.
The Minnesota State Attorney General’s office has filed a sentencing memorandum seeking 86 months in prison for the former Brooklyn Center, Minn. police officer, according to a report from NBC News.
“The degree of Defendant Potter’s recklessness in handling her firearm and causing Daunte Wright’s death cannot be excused or even minimized,” the document submitted by Attorney General Keith Ellison says according to NBC News.
In April 2021, the 49-year-old former officer fatally shot Wright after a traffic stop for expired plates and an air freshener hanging from his mirror. Police said during the stop, Potter learned that there was a warrant for Wright’s arrest, and when she attempted to place him under arrest, Wright tried to drive away. That’s when Potter said she mistook her gun for a Taser and killed the 20-year-old man.
Wright’s death compounded calls for justice in the case of police violence as the shooting occurred just hours after the guilty verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin who murdered George Floyd the previous spring.
Motions from Potter’s attorneys contend that the judge should hand down a shorter sentence because Wright tried to escape and escalated the situation, according to the NBC report. However, prosecutors have rejected that argument and stated the level of force Potter elected to use was not necessary for a non-violent person who tried to pull away from her.
As previously reported, Potter testified on her behalf and said that she “didn’t want to hurt anybody.”
Jurors saw body camera footage of the shooting which showed Potter holding her gun in her right hand and pointing it at Wright. The video shows Potter saying, “I’ll tase you.” Two seconds later, she says, “Taser, Taser, Taser.” One second later, she fired a single bullet into Wright’s chest.
“(Expletive)! I just shot him. … I grabbed the wrong (expletive) gun,” Potter says in the video. A minute later, she said: “I’m going to go to prison.”
According to CNN, Ellison wrote in the sentencing memo, Daunte Wright, and his life must be held in the highest regard as well. The presumptive sentence reflects that seriousness of the loss of his life.” He continued, “In addition, the presumptive sentence reflects the culpability of the Defendant’s recklessness in causing Daunte Wright’s death.”
He added that while Potter could use her experience to teach and train other officers to avoid the “lethal error,” that she made, that “by acknowledging her failure, she is subject to the law like all others.”
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