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Former Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter was sentenced to 24 months on Friday after being found guilty of first and second-degree manslaughter in the death of Daunte Wright. The sentence includes a mandatory 16 months in prison in accordance with state law, but Potter will be eligible for supervised release for the remainder of her sentence with good behavior.
Potter, 49, argued that she had confused her handgun with her taser in the controversial shooting death that ended the life of Wright when she fired a bullet into his chest during a traffic stop.
Sentencing began at 9 a.m. local time, with prosecutors emphasizing additional factors that could lead to a longer sentence.
Katie Wright, Daunte Wright’s mother, gave the first statement on Friday, according to WCCO-TV. “I’ll never be able to forgive you for what you stole from us,” asking Judge Regina Chu to hold Potter to the “highest accountability.”
“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, to your home,” Potter said in a statement in court, CNN reported.
“Katie, I understand a mother’s love, and I am sorry I broke your heart. My heart is broken for all of you. Earlier, when you said that I didn’t look at you during the trial, I don’t believe I had a right to. I didn’t even have a right to be in the same room with you. I am so sorry that I hurt you so badly,” she said directly to Wright’s mother.
The December jury decision came after nearly 27 hours of deliberation, concluding just two days before Christmas.
The first-degree charge carries a potential sentence of up to 15 years. The second-degree sentence carries a maximum sentence of 10 years.
According to prosecutors, Potter faced a presumptive sentence of just over seven years under state guidelines, according to CBS News.
The Daily Wire previously reported at length on the case, noting when the ruling was announced:
The trial mostly wrapped up last week on Friday after Potter testified in her own defense. During her testimony, she broke down multiple times expressing remorse for what happened on April 11 when she fatally shot Wright, a 20-year-old black man. Potter shot Wright while attempting to tase the young man as he struggled with and attempted to flee police.
Potter’s defense team has never contested that she mistakenly pulled her gun when she meant to pull her taser, and that that mistake led to Wright’s death. Instead, the defense has painted a sympathetic picture of a person stuck in a chaotic and dangerous situation where split-second decisions had to be made.
The prosecution argued that Potter’s lethal mistake is grossly negligent inexcusable.
“This was no oopsie, this not putting the wrong date on a check, this was not entering the wrong password, this was a colossal screw-up, a blunder of epic proportions, it was precisely the thing she was warned about for years, it was irreversible and it was fatal,” prosecutor Erin Eldridge said in closing arguments on Monday.
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