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Ex-police officer Kim Potter sentenced to 2 years in prison over Daunte Wright killing; judge tears up, begs for empathy while lauding police

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Image source: YouTube screenshot

Ex-Minnesota police officer Kim Potter, who was convicted of manslaughter in the fatal shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright, was sentenced to two years in prison on Friday.

Potter originally faced a total of up to 25 years in prison following the December conviction.

Hennepin County Judge Regina Chu reportedly teared up while delivering the sentence and asked people to show empathy for Potter.

What are the details?

Potter, according to various reports, will serve 16 months in prison and another eight months on supervised release. She will also be required to pay a $1,000 fine.

Chu in her statement said that the case was very complex and in summation involved a police officer who made a "tragic mistake."

"This is not a cop found guilty of murder for using his knee to pin down a person for 9 and a half minutes as he gasped for air," Chu said in remarks. "This is a cop who made a tragic mistake."

She added that the case was one of the "saddest" she's witnessed in her 20 years as a judge and asked the public for empathy all around.

"I recognize that there will be those who disagree with the sentence," a reportedly tearful Chu said after handing down the sentence. "That I granted a significant downward departure does not in any way diminish Daunte Wright's life. His life mattered. And to those who disagree and feel a longer prison sentence is appropriate, as difficult as it may be please try to empathize with Mrs. Potter's situation."

Quoting former President Barack Obama, Chu added, "Empathy is a quality of character that can change the world."

"Officer Kimberly Potter was trying to do the right thing," Chu said and added, "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. They risk their lives every single day. Officer Potter made a mistake that ended tragically. She never intended to hurt anyone. Her conduct cries out for a sentence significantly below the guidelines."

During her hearing, Potter pleaded with Wright's family and profusely apologized.

"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," she said.

Potter pulled over Wright and his girlfriend in 2021 for having expired tags and an air freshener hanging from the vehicle's rearview mirror. During the stop, officers discovered a warrant for Wright's arrest for missing a court appearance for charges of carrying a handgun without a permit and fleeing from police. As Wright attempted to get back into the car — a move interpreted to be him fleeing once more — Potter shouted "Taser!" but fired her service weapon instead.

Body cam footage captured the entire incident, in which a distraught Potter could be heard saying, "Oh, s***. I shot him. I grabbed the wrong f***ing gun. Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God. I’m going to prison."

What else?

Wright's mother, Katie Ann Wright, however, refused to even acknowledge Potter by her name during her own statement and said, "I will not give her the respect of calling her by her name."

"She referred to Daunte over and over again as 'the driver,' as if killing him wasn't enough to dehumanize him. She never once said his name. And for that I'll never be able to forgive you. And I'll never be able to forgive you for what you've stolen from us," Wright's mother added.

His father, Aubrey Wright, added, "Kim Potter was trained, and was trained to prevent this type of thing from ever happening. She was a police officer longer than my son was alive."

The Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association thanked Chu for her "thoughtful approach" in the sentencing.

"We are thankful for Judge Chu's thoughtful approach in her stated reasoning, as she recognized Ms. Potter's law enforcement service and that she made a tragic mistake," the statement said.

'Extremely difficult decision': Judge Regina Chu explains Potter sentencing www.youtube.com

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