The Minnesota judge who handed down a 2-year sentence to former cop Kim Potter for killing Daunte Wright got emotional as she asked the public to empathize with the ex-officer — and said that Potter tried “to do the right thing.”
In December, the former Brooklyn Center police officer was convicted of first- and second-degree manslaughter for fatally shooting Wright during a traffic stop after mistaking her gun for her taser.
“Of all the jobs in public service, police officers have the most difficult one. They must make snap decisions under tense evolving and ever-changing circumstances,” Hennepin County Judge Regina Chu said Friday. “They risk their lives every single day in public service. Officer Potter made a mistake that ended tragically.”
“She never intended to hurt anyone,” Chu added. “Her conduct cries out for a sentence significantly below the guidelines.”
The judge said Potter will also be fined $1,000 with a surcharge of $78, which will either be taken out of her prison wages or due within 180 days.
During the sentencing, Wright’s mother Katie Wright gave an emotional testimony
“A police officer who was supposed to serve and protect someone took so much from us,” she said. “She took our baby boy with a single gunshot through his heart and she shattered mine. My life and my world will never, ever be the same.”
Katie added that Potter “didn’t even try” to save her son.
“… I’ll never be able to forgive you for what you’ve stolen from us,” she said.
During the hearing, Potter took the stand and apologized to Wright’s family.
“To the family of Daunte Wright, I am so sorry that I brought the death of your son, father, brother, uncle, grandson, nephew and the rest of your family to your home,” she said.
Potter also addressed Wright’s mother directly, saying, “Katie, I understand a mother’s love and I am sorry I broke your heart. My heart is broken for all of you. Earlier, when you said that I didn’t look at you during the trial, I don’t believe I had a right to. I didn’t even have a right to be in the same room with you. I am so sorry that I hurt you so badly.”
Under Minnesota law, Potter could only be sentenced for her most serious offense, which was the first-degree manslaughter conviction. The maximum penalty for the charge is 15 years in prison and/or a $30,000 fine.
Civil rights attorneys Ben Crump and Jeff Storms, who represented Wright’s family, are expected to hold a press conference about her sentencing later today.