Kim Potter has been sentenced to two years

MINNEAPOLIS — Former Brooklyn Center police officer, Kim Potter has been sentenced to 24 months, serving 16 months in prison before being eligible for supervised release. She received credit for 58 days already served.

Potter was convicted in December of first- and second-degree manslaughter in the April 11 killing of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black motorist. Potter was sentenced on Friday following victim impact statements from Daunte Wright’s family, and mother of his child.

Before sentencing, Potter gave a statement following a brief recess. “To the family of Daunte Wright, I’m so sorry that I brought the death of your son, father, brother, uncle, grandson, nephew and the rest of your family,” Potter said in her emotional statement asking for forgiveness before her sentencing.

Katie Wright, Daunte’s mother, spoke before the sentence, asking Judge Regina Chu “to hold the defendant to the highest accountability.”

“April 11 was the worst day of my life. A police officer who is supposed to serve and protect someone took so much away from us,” she said through tears, adding, “I’ll never be able to forgive you for what you’ve stolen from us.”

Arbuey Wright, Daunte’s father, also called for Potter to receive the highest sentence while calling that incomparable to the loss he and his family suffered. Damik Bryant, the oldest of Daunte’s siblings, read a poem for Daunte; Diamond Wright, Daunte’s second-youngest sister, called him “a great big brother” while highlighting things Daunte will miss; and Chyna Whitaker, the mother of Daunte’s son, noted the impact of Daunte’s death on their son, saying, “Kim Potter took my son’s best friend away from him, and nothing has been the same since.” Whitaker also highlighted the impact on herself, saying she has “extreme anxiety” when she’s pulled over and can’t watch TV or movies with police in them. They all called for Potter to receive the highest sentence possible.

The sentence issued Friday morning is below the range of six to 8 1/2 years in prison recommended by state guidelines. But Judge Regina Chu found mitigating factors exist that could warrant a lesser sentence.

Before handing down the sentence, Chu said she was moved by everyone’s statements and then noted Potter’s track record. She said she got “hundreds” of letters in support of Potter. Chu said she felt compelled to address the aggravating factors, saying the state didn’t prove a reason for a higher-than-normal sentence for Potter.

“This has been an extremely difficult decision,” Chu said, noting she looked at the purposes of incarceration in making her decision. Being Wright was killed due to Potter’s actions, “there rightfully should be some accountability,” Chu said.

Ultimately, Chu said she determined a downward departure from the presumptive sentence, citing Potter’s conduct and intention as less severe than typical manslaughter, the tense and quickly evolving situation the shooting happened in, and the fact Potter was working to arrest Wright. She also specifically cited differences in the case vs. the Mohamed Noor and Derek Chauvin cases.

After reading the sentence, Chu said she knows some will disagree with her sentence but said it doesn’t diminish Wright’s life. “His life mattered,” she said. She also appeared emotional, holding back tears and said of Potter, “she didn’t mean to hurt anyone” and her conduct called for a lower sentence.

The sentencing was only on the most serious charge; first-degree manslaughter carries a presumptive penalty of just over seven years in prison.