A Minnesota judge has sentenced former police officer Kim Potter to 16 months in prison for shooting and killing Daunte Wright in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center last April.
In addition, Potter was sentenced to an additional eight months of supervised release.
Prosecutors had sought a seven-year sentence for Potter. Judge Regina Chu also said that her sentence was also below recommended guidelines for manslaughter, noting that Potter was forced to make a "split-second decision" while "operating in the line of duty and effectuating a lawful arrest."
In announcing her sentencing, Chu made reference to the case of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer who was convicted of the murder of George Floyd.
"This is not a cop convicted for murder for putting his knee on a man's back for more than nine minutes," Chu said. "...this is a cop who made a tragic mistake."
Just before Chu handed down the sentencing, Potter apologized to Wright's family.
"I pray for Daunte and all of you many, many times a day. He is not more than one thought away from my heart, and I have no right for that. For him to be in my heart," she said. "I do pray that one day you can find forgiveness only because hatred is so destructive for all of us."
Wright's mother, Katie Bryant, also spoke during Friday's hearing, saying that she would “never be able to forgive (Potter) for what you’ve stolen from us.”
“My life and my world will never ever be the same again,” Bryant said.
Wright died on April 11, 2021, during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis. Potter and her partner had pulled over Wright for improper signaling, expired tags and an improper air freshener hanging in his windshield.
During the traffic stop, officers realized that Wright had an outstanding warrant. When they tried to take him into custody, Wright tried to flee the scene in his vehicle.
Potter fired her weapon and fatally shot Wright. She later testified that she mistakenly pulled her firearm when reaching for her stun gun, and her body camera footage shows she yelled "Taser!" before firing the fatal shots.
The shooting sparked several days of unrest in Brooklyn Center. The incident occurred as the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was getting underway just miles away.