Originally published Feb. 18, 2022
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The family of Daunte Wright spoke out following former officer Kim Potter's downward departure sentence Friday, saying "the justice system murdered him all over again."
Potter, who shot and killed the 20-year-old Black motorist during a traffic stop, was sentenced to 16 months in prison and will serve an additional eight months in supervised release. She said she meant to use her Taser, not her gun during the fatal incident.
Before handing down the sentence, Judge Regina Chu said that this was the case of a "cop who made a tragic mistake. She drew her firearm thinking it was a Taser and ended up killing a young man." The court approved a downward departure from the typical sentence, as Chu said Potter never intended to use her firearm and the scene was chaotic.
In an emotional press conference following the sentence, the family of Wright expressed their disappointment with the judge's decision for a lighter sentence.
"Kim Potter murdered my son and he died April 11," Katie Wright said. "Today the justice system murdered him all over again. White women's tears trumped justice."
"This lady got a slap on the wrist and we still every night, sitting around crying, waiting on my son to come home," said Arbuey Wright, Daunte Wright's father, upset to see a judge reduced to tears after Potter cried while expressing how sorry she was for confusing her gun for a Taser and taking a life.
"This isn't okay. This is the problem with the justice system today. White women in tears trumps, trumps justice and I thought my white women tears would be good enough because they are true and genuine," said Katie Wright.
The family's attorney Ben Crump said there was an "apples to apples" comparison to the case of Mohamed Noor, a Somali American former Minneapolis police officer who was convicted of manslaughter in the death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, who was white. Noor was initially sentenced to more than 12 years in prison, before he was resentenced in late 2021 on a lesser charge.
"What we see today is the legal system in America in Black and white," Crump said, highlighting the disparities in the way the criminal justice system sentences BIPOC and white convicted criminals. He added that there are Black people in prison serving a longer sentence for selling marijuana than Potter will serve for killing Wright.
An hour before the sentencing hearing began, supporters of Daunte Wright's family gathered at the east plaza of the Hennepin County Government Center.
"We're still going to be out here making sure we hold people accountable, making sure that justice and accountability is going to be served," said Donald Hooker, Jr.
Chants of justice for Wright filled the air as supporters of Kim Potter began to arrive.
"It doesn't matter how warm, how cold, we are going to be out here to support because we are a community, we are family," said Athena Papagiannopouls.
Wright's family and friends say Friday's sentence was far from justice.
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