Ex-cop killed Daunte Wright to learn Friday’s sentence

MINNEAPOLIS – The former Minneapolis suburban police officer who said she mistook her pistol for a Taser when killing Daunte Wright will be sentenced Friday for manslaughter.

Kim Potter was convicted in December of first-degree and second-degree manslaughter in the April 11 murder of Wright, a 20-year-old Black driver. She will only be convicted on one count. The most serious is first-degree murder, with a presumptive penalty of just over seven years in prison.

Prosecutors said the presumptive sentence was appropriate, while the defense asked for a lighter sentence, including a sentence of probation only.

Potter is expected to issue a statement at her sentencing hearing before Judge Regina Chu, and her attorneys also plan to read statements from others who support her. The state is planning to release victim impact statements in which victims and family members can talk about how Wright’s death has affected them.

Wright was killed after Brooklyn Center agents pulled him over for having an expired driver’s license card and an air freshener hanging from his rearview mirror. The shooting, which occurred in the midst of Derek Chauvin’s trial for murder in the killing of George Floyd, sparked days of protests outside the Central Brooklyn police station marked by tear gas and clashes between protesters and police.

Evidence at Potter’s trial showed that officers knew he had an pending warrant for weapons possession and that they attempted to arrest him as he fled. The video shows Potter shouting several times that she was going to tease Wright, but she took a gun in her hand and fired one shot into his chest.

For someone with no criminal history, such as Potter, the state sentencing guidelines for first-degree manslaughter require a penalty of a little over six years to about eight and a half years in prison, with Presumptive sentence is more than seven years. .

Prosecutors initially argued that the aggravating circumstances warranting the sentence were above the guideline scope. They say that Potter abused her powers as an officer and that her actions posed a greater-than-normal danger to others.

There is no indication in court filings that they have formally retracted that argument, but in a new document they say the presumptive verdict is appropriate and “takes into account the key elements of the case.” judgment: the death of Daunte Wright and the recklessness of the Defendant.”

Defense attorneys, seeking a lighter sentence, argued that Wright was the aggressor and that he would have survived if he had obeyed the order. Their argument for probation said she had no criminal record, regrets, had an exemplary career and was supported by family and friends. They also said her risk of recidivism was low because she was no longer a police officer and they said she would do well on probation.

Prosecutor Matt Frank disagreed, but wrote that if the court finds the jail term ineffective, Potter will receive 10 years of probation and serve a year in prison, speaking to law enforcement about the dangers. of confusing weapons and talking to Wright’s. family about their loss if they wanted her to.

Frank also disagrees with arguments defending that Potter should be given a sentence below the guideline. If the court finds that Potter’s case is less serious than a typical first-degree manslaughter case, he writes, it will issue sentences ranging from four years to a little more than seven years, sentences assumptions for second- and first-degree manslaughter.

In Minnesota, it is assumed that well-behaved inmates will serve two-thirds of their sentences in prison and the remainder are released under supervised release, commonly known as parole. That means that if Potter received a presumptive sentence of about 7 years, she would be incarcerated for about 4 years and 9 months, with the rest being pardoned.

Potter has been at the state women’s prison in Shakopee since the guilty verdict.

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