Kim Potter Found Guilty in Killing of Daunte Wright
Former police officer Kim Potter has been found guilty of first- and second-degree manslaughter for the killing of Daunte Wright.
Kim Potter was found guilty of first- and second-degree manslaughter Thursday for the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright, which occurred when the former Minnesota police officer testified she mistook her service weapon for a Taser.
Potter, wearing a black sweater over a black-and-white blouse, displayed no reaction as the verdicts were read. She was ordered held without bail. After the jury was excused, one of Potter’s lawyers buried his head on his hands.
Wright’s parents, Arbuey Wright and Katie Bryant, took “deep breaths and loud sighs” and held hands as the first count was read. Bryant sobbed and Arbuey Wright comforted her, according to a pool report.
After the second count was announced, Wright’s family “let out cries,” the pool report said.
Demonstrators — some carrying “Black Lives Matter” signs and drawings of Wright’s face — applauded and cheered outside the court. A brass band played.
Jurors in the trial of the White ex-officer in the fatal shooting of the 20-year-old Black man deliberated about 27 hours since Monday, when, in closing arguments, a prosecutor described the former officer’s actions as a tragic blunder born of recklessness or negligence and the defense characterized the shooting as an honest mistake, not a crime.
The maximum penalty for first-degree manslaughter predicated on reckless use/ handling of a firearm is 15 years in prison and/or a $30,000 fine. However, since Potter, 49, has no criminal history, Minnesota sentencing guidelines recommend a sentence roughly between 6 and 8.5 years in prison.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison told reporters after the verdict that he was saddened “there will be an empty chair at the Wright family dinner during the holidays.”
“We have a degree of accountability for Daunte’s death. Accountability is not justice,” he said. “Justice is beyond the reach that we have in this life for Daunte but accountability is an important step, a critical, necessary step on the road to justice for us all.”
Ellison said law enforcement officers are held in “high regard” but will also be held to “high standards.”
Of Potter, he said: “She was remorseful. I mean what decent person wouldn’t be brokenhearted and sad if they were involved in something like this… I wish nothing but the best for her and her family.”
Judge Regina Chu denied a request by Potter’s defense lawyers to let her go home before sentencing, citing her deep roots in the community.
“I cannot treat this case any differently than any other case,” Chu said.
The former Brooklyn Center police officer was handcuffed and escorted out of the courtroom. Her husband, Jeff, was heard yelling, “I love you Kim,” according to a pool report.
“I love you back,” she said.
Sentencing was set for February 18.