Twitter erupts after Daunte Wright’s killer receives paltry sentence

Twitter erupts after Daunte Wright’s killer receives paltry sentence
Image via Screengrab.

Late Friday morning, former Minneapolis Police Officer Kim Potter was sentenced to 16 months in prison, eight months of supervised release, and slapped with a $1,000 fine in the fatal April 2021 shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright.

Potter was convicted of first-degree manslaughter in December for taking Wright's life when she allegedly mistook her gun for her Taser during a traffic stop.

After listening to Wright’s family deliver haunting impact statements on the pain that Wright’s death has caused them, Hennepin County Judge Regina Chu asked the public to “empathize” with Potter, whose “conduct cries out for a sentence significantly below the guidelines” of six to eight-and-half-years.

Wright’s family was devastated by Chu’s decision.

“We’re very disappointed in the outcome... Kim Potter murdered my son. Today, the justice system murdered him all over again," Wright’s mother Katie told reporters outside of the courthouse following Chu’s ruling.

“Nobody cared enough - they were so tied up into her feelings – they forgot my son was killed,” Aubrey Wright, the victim’s father, added. “I feel like we were tricked… we actually thought we would get a little justice… but now, I walk out of this courthouse feeling like people are laughing at us because this lady got a slap on the wrist and we sit around every night waiting for our son to come home.”

Toshira Garraway, an activist and founder of Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence, blasted Chu's ruling.

“This is multiple steps backward. This is hurtful and disrespectful for our community and the legal system in general,” she remarked to The Daily Beast. "This sentence is disrespectful to Daunte Wright’s family and just a reminder that some people just don’t care about us."

Attorneys for the Wrights – a team that includes civil rights lawyer Benjamin Crump – were “completely stunned...[and] also deeply disappointed there was not a greater level of accountability," they said to the Beast. "The judge’s comments at sentencing showed a clear absence of compassion for the victim in this tragedy and were devastating to the family. Judge Chu’s comments about Potter resembled those of a job recommendation and not that of a senseless and preventable death of a promising life."

The high-profile nature of the case coupled with the national anger over cops using unjustified deadly force against Black people triggered an explosion of emotional reactions on social media.

“Kim Potter sentenced to 2 years for killing Daunte Wright. And the judge is giving her all the sympathy in the world. It really sounded like she was about to give her probation. But this is barely more than that. And not even two full years. 16 months plus credit for time served, and a paltry $1,000 fine. The judge sounds like she is about to cry, not for Daunte Wright and his family, but for Kim Potter. Wow,” MSNBC’s Joy Reid wrote.

“And rather than go the obvious route and quote that one MLK line, the judge went with an Obama quote. Ok I’m done. Time for a mental health break!” Reid continued. “Be safe out there and mind your air fresheners if you’re Black and driving.”

Reid was far from alone in expressing outrage over Potter’s lenient punishment. Scores of observers said that the American criminal justice system is hopelessly broken.


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