Social media reactions continue to pour in on the the sentencing of Kim Potter.
“I recognize there will be those who disagree with the sentence. That I granted a significant downward departure does not in any way diminish Daunte Wright’s life. His life mattered. And to those who disagree and feel a longer prison sentence is appropriate, as difficult as it may be, please try to empathize with Ms. Potter’s situation”
Kim Potter, the former Minnesota police officer who claimed to have mistakenly drawn her gun instead of her Taser and fatally shot Daunte Wright during a traffic stop, was sentenced on Friday.
In a Hennepin County courtroom, Potter was sentenced to two-years in prison with a mandatory 16 months to be served. This sentencing comes nearly two years after Potter was found guilty of first-degree and second-degree manslaughter for the April 2021 death of 20-year-old Wright, a young Black man.
According to prosecutors, more than seven years is the recommended penalty under the state’s guideline, but Potter’s defense sought after lesser charges, highlighting her remorse shown for Wright’s death and no prior criminal history.
Judge Regina Chu tearfully addressed the court shortly ahead of the sentence being announced defending the decision and requesting that Potter be granted empathy from the public.
Hennepin County Judge Regina Chu called the sentence “an extremely difficult decision.”
“I recognize there will be those who disagree with the sentence. That I granted a significant downward departure does not in any way diminish Daunte Wright’s life. His life mattered. And to those who disagree and feel a longer prison sentence is appropriate, as difficult as it may be, please try to empathize with Ms. Potter’s situation,” Chu said.
She continued, “Empathy is a quality of character that can change the world,” citing a quote from former president Barak Obama. “Officer Kimberly Potter was trying to do the right thing. Of all the jobs in public service, police officers have the most difficult one.”
Kim Potter, 49, was soberly seated as Judge Chu came to her defense.
Chu made comparisons with the May 2020 murder of George Floyd by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd’s neck for at least nine minutes, killing him.
“This is not a cop found guilty of murder for using his knee to pin down a person for nine and a half minutes as he gasped for air,” she said. “This is not a cop found guilty of manslaughter for intentionally drawing his firearm and shooting across his partner and killing an unarmed woman who approached his squad,” Chu said
Arbuey Wright, Daunte Wright’s father, who exited the courtroom visibly upset, expressed his disappointment to reporters waiting outside.
“I walk out of this courthouse feeling like people are laughing at us because this lady got a slap on the wrist and every night we are still waiting around crying, waiting for my son to come home,” he said.
Many took to Twitter to express their opinion on the sentence.
Joe Concha (@JoeConchaTV) political columnist tweeted “Cue the Kim Potter-Kyle Rittenhouse ‘white tears’ comparisons on this hellscape of a platform.”
Journalist Chuck Modi (@ChudkModi1) tweeted, “Kim Potter employing the White Tears Defense Strategy.”
Qasim Rashid, Esq (@QasimRashid) tweeted “The Black Minnesota cop who got scared & killed a white woman got 57 months in prison. The white Minnesota cop who got scared & killed a Black man got 16 mEven behind the “thin blue line,” systemic racism is as clear as black & months in prison.”
According to Chief Tim Gannon of the Brooklyn Center Police Department, Wright was initially pulled over for having expired tags and an air freshener hanging from his rearview mirror on April 11, 2021. Upon running Wright’s Identification, it was discovered that he had an outstanding warrant for a misdemeanor weapons violation. While struggling to be detained, Wright stepped back into his car and a body cam showed an officer pointing a gun at him. The car then pulls off and crashes several blocks away. Wright was pronounced dead at the scene. Potter was a 26-year veteran of the force.