By Stacy M. Brown NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent@StacyBrownMedia
A jury in Minnesota has convicted former Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kim Potter on multiple man-slaughter counts for the killing of Daunte Wright.
Potter, who said she mistakenly grabbed her service weapon instead of a stun gun, could face a minimum of 10 years in prison when she’s sentenced.
The maximum sentence for first-degree manslaughter is 15 years and a $30,000 fine, and for second-degree man-slaughter, it’s 10 years and a $20,000 fine.
Potter and other Brooklyn Center officers pulled Wright over for expired registration tags and an air freshener on the rearview mirror of his car. Authorities said once they realized that he had outstanding warrants, they attempted to arrest him and allegedly Wright resisted.
When he tried to get back into his car, Potter yelled “Taser,” Taser,” and shot him with her service revolver.
Assistant Minnesota Attorney General Erin Eldridge told jurors in her closing argument that the case is “very simple.” It’s about the “reckless handling of a firearm” and “culpable negligence.”
“You don’t blindly pull your weapon, pull the trigger, without being aware of the risk,” Eldridge asserted.
Civil rights attorneys Benjamin Crump, Antonio Romanucci and Jeff Storms, who represent the family of Daunte Wright, said in a statement that the family felt a sense of relief.
“The family of Daunte Wright is relieved that the justice system has provided some measure of accountability for the senseless death of their son, brother, father and friend,” the attorneys wrote in the statement.
“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 continued:
“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. We must now turn our attention to ensuring that Kim Potter receives the strongest and most just sentence possible. It is also imperative that we focus on the conduct of Brooklyn Center and pinpoint its systemic failures that contributed to Daunte’s unlawful death.”
It’s expected that Potter will be sentenced in January.