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Kim Potter, the former Minneapolis police officer who killed Daunte Wright, was sentenced on Friday to two years in prison. That was far less than the standard manslaughter sentence of around seven years. Potter fatally shot Wright, a 20-year-old Black motorist, during a routine traffic stop last April. Special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro has our story.
A judge sentenced the former suburban Minneapolis police officer who killed Daunte Wright, Kim Potter, to two years in prison today. That was notably less than the standard manslaughter sentence of around seven years. Potter fatally shot Wright, a 20-year-old Black motorist, during a routine traffic stop last April.
Special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro has our story.
Fred de Sam Lazaro:
Before today's sentencing in a downtown Minneapolis courtroom, Daunte Wright's mother spoke tearfully about her son.
Katie Wright, Mother of Daunte Wright: She took our baby boy with a single gunshot through his heart. And she shattered mine.
In December, Potter was convicted of first- and second-degree manslaughter. She fatally shot Wright last April when she said she confused her handgun for a Taser. The killing sparked protests and clashes with police.
Today, Potter addressed Wright's family.
Kim Potter, Defendant:
Katie, I understand a mother's love. And I'm sorry I broke your heart.
My heart is broken for all of you.
In handing down her sentence, Judge Regina Chu compared Potter's crime to Derek Chauvin's killing of George Floyd, as well as the 2017 shooting of a white woman by a Black Minneapolis police officer, Mohamed Noor, who received a far longer sentence.
Judge Regina Chu, Hennepin County District Court:
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.
After the sentence was handed down, Daunte Wright's family and supporters expressed outrage.
Kim Potter murdered my son. And he died April 11.
Today, the justice system murdered him all over again. This is the problem with the justice system today. White women tears trumps — trumps justice. And I thought my white woman tears would be good enough, because they're true and genuine.
Potter will serve two-thirds of her time, about 16 months, in prison. The rest will be on parole.
For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Fred de Sam Lazaro.
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Fred de Sam Lazaro is director of the Under-Told Stories Project at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, a program that combines international journalism and teaching. He has served with the PBS NewsHour since 1985 and is a regular contributor and substitute anchor for PBS' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly.
Sam Lane is reporter/producer in PBS NewsHour's segment unit.
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