Former Minnesota police officer Kim Potter has been found guilty of first-degree and second-degree manslaughter in the fatal shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright.
Judge Regina Chu read the verdict in court Thursday afternoon. Potter had pleaded not guilty.
The maximum sentence for first-degree manslaughter is 15 years and a $30,000 fine, and for second-degree manslaughter, it’s 10 years and a $20,000 fine.
In a statement, the Wright family’s legal team said the family is “relieved.” They called for reform and change in America’s policing systems.
“From the unnecessary and overreaching tragic traffic stop to the shooting that took his life, that day will remain a traumatic one for this family and yet another example for America of why we desperately need change in policing, training and protocols,” the statement read. “If we are ever going to restore the confidence of Black and marginalized Americans in law enforcement, we need to have accountability and a commitment to listening and to creating meaningful change.”
Potter, alongside other Brooklyn Center officers, pulled Wright over in April 2021 for having expired registration tags and an air freshener hanging from his rear view mirror. When officers discovered he had an outstanding warrant for a gross misdemeanor weapons charge, they tried to arrest him, according to police testimony at the trial.
He resisted and was attempting to re-enter his vehicle when Potter shot him. He then drove away, crashing shortly after, police testified.
Potter’s defense team has maintained that Wright’s death was an accident throughout the trial. They said Potter mistakenly grabbed her gun instead of her stun gun, but that she was within her rights to use deadly force because Wright may have hurt another officer.
Prosecutors said the 26-year veteran should not have reached for her stun gun in the first place. They assert that she was reckless and negligent in her actions.
Potter testified in her own defense, sobbing on the witness stand as she recalled the events of the April 11 shooting.
“I’m sorry,” Potter said. “I didn’t want to hurt anybody.”
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