A former Minnesota police officer who fatally shot Downt Wright while shouting “Taser” during a traffic stop that has been arrested near Minneapolis was convicted on Friday. up to two years in prison.
A Minnesota jury recognized 49-year-old Kim Potter guilty late last year of unintentional first- and second-degree murder in the April shooting at the Brooklyn Center.
Charges of first-degree manslaughter were punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of 15 years and / or a fine of $ 30,000 and an estimated sentence of six to eight and a half years. But Hennepin District Court Judge Regina Chu decided to sentence Potter to a lighter sentence than recommended by state sentencing guidelines.
Potter, who has already served 58 days, is expected to serve 16 months and a third of his sentence in custody. According to the Associated Press, Minnesota criminals typically spend two-thirds of their time in prison and one-third after supervised release.
Katie Wright, Donte Wright’s mother, said the family was “very disappointed” by the ruling. “Today, the justice system killed him again,” Wright said. “It’s not. It’s a problem of our justice system today. The tears of white women prevail in justice.”
“We actually thought we would achieve a little bit of justice,” he said.
Attorney Ben Crump said Wright “didn’t get the consideration he deserved.”
“We saw Derek Shaven being convicted. We saw Kim Potter being convicted. So I think we all allowed ourselves to believe for a moment that there could be an equal justice system,” Crump said. “If we have such proposals, it complicates those arguments.”
In a statement, the NAACP called Potter’s sentence a “slap on the wrist.”
“As dozens of black men remain in prison for the rest of their lives for non-violent crimes, Kim Potter will become a free woman in a year,” the statement said. “It only increases what we already know – the system is broken.”
In her ruling, Chu said there would be “those who disagree” with the verdict. She urged people to “try to empathize” with Potter.
Before announcing Potter’s sentence, Chu referred to former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was convicted last year of the murder of George Floyd.
“This is not a police officer convicted of murder for using his knee to press a man for nine and a half minutes while he was short of breath,” she said.
Potter was “a cop who made a tragic mistake,” Chu said.
Chu added: “She never intended to offend anyone. Her behavior requires a sentence much lower than the recommendation. “
Choo, choking, said the verdict was an “extremely difficult decision.” She called the case “very unusual” and “One of the saddest cases I’ve had in 20 years on the bench.” Chu said she received “hundreds of hundreds” of letters on Potter’s behalf, in which she “painted a portrait of a woman who touched many people in a good way.”
The prosecutor’s office claimed that there were aggravating factors in the case that deserved a harsher sentence. They said Potter’s actions threatened other people and that she abused her position as a police officer. But Chu said the state had not proven aggravating factors.
Members of Wright’s family, who was 20 years old, spoke before Chu’s ruling. “I will never be able to forgive you for stealing from us,” Katie Wright told the court, crying. “My life and my world will never and will never be the same.”
Wright’s mother said Potter “let Daunt down, our family and our community.” She noted that Potter did not help his son, whose car was kept in sight for more than five minutes as he bled. “She wasn’t trying to save him. You should have done better,” Wright said.
Arbui Wright said his son was “every man’s dream”.
“I would watch Donte sleep for many years, think, think what his future will be like – what he will be like,” he said, adding: “We only have memories of our son.”
Also speaking were two brothers and sisters, Wright and China Whitaker, the mother of Wright’s 2-year-old son, Downt Jr. “Kim Potter took my son’s best friend from him,” Whitaker said. “Now I am a single mother not by desire, but by force.”
Potter, who has worked in the police force for 26 years, came across the Wright family when they spoke on Friday. “I’m sorry I brought your son to his death,” Potter said, adding, “Katie, I understand my mother’s love, and I’m sorry I broke your heart. My heart is broken for all of you. ”
Defenders said Fr. movement at the end of last month with a request to sentence Potter to probation instead of prison on the basis of her “exemplary career”, “life without crime” and “obvious remorse”. They also claimed that Wright was guilty of creating a situation where Potter needed to use force, and said Potter “would be a walking object in prison.”
“It’s more tragic for all participants,” lawyer Paul Eng told the court on Friday.
Eng said Potter “has huge public support” and received “thousands” of cards from supporters while in prison. He picked up a cardboard box full of cards and a stack of letters submitted on behalf of Potter and read several of them, including some from the Potter family.
Potter, white, shot black Wright on April 11th. She is also an intern officer said they stopped Wright’s car that day because it included a migrant on the wrong turn lane, overdue tabs and an air freshener that hung on the rearview mirror.
Officers found that Wright had an arrest warrant for violating the use of weapons and security against him, and they tried to detain him. During the fight, Potter shot Wright, who was driving down the street and crashed into an oncoming car, injuring a passenger in his car as well as two others.
In court, lawyers argued Potter took her firearm for an electric shocker but was acquitted in the use of deadly force to prevent the injury of another officer. Potter testified in court and said she was “sorry” and “didn’t want to hurt anyone.”
Prosecutors said Potter carelessly handled his firearms and caused Wright’s death through her “guilty negligence” – conscious and ignoring substantial and unjustified risk.
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Potter has been in state jail since sentencing nearly two months ago. A predominantly white jury understood the case for more than 27 hours.
One juror who spoke anonymously with KARE-TV after the verdict said: “We felt she was a good person, we felt she was wrong and that a mistake does not exempt you from the fact that she committed a crime.”
Potter was separated from the rest of the inmates and had no contact with other female inmates, said Sarah Fitzgerald, a spokeswoman for the Minnesota Penitentiary Department.