Guilty verdict against Kim Potter is a powerful step towards police accountability

Courtesy of YouTube/PBSHour

Yet more work remains

The Racial Justice Network is ecstatic and relieved that the jury selected in Kim Potter’s trial returned a guilty verdict on both manslaughter counts. We celebrate with community leaders, activists, and citizens who have worked hard to hold the system accountable to produce a guilty verdict in this case. We salute those who took to the streets, entered the halls of power, and ensured their voices were heard; demanding justice for Daunte Wright and all stolen lives. 

Even as we celebrate, we also acknowledge that no conviction can take away the pain or fill the hole left in the Wright family and their surrounding community. True justice requires system-wide change that ensures transparency and accountability for all law enforcement officials. True justice means that traffic stops will no longer result in deaths and police officers are consistently held accountable when they use excessive force on the community they pledged to serve. This conviction is a step in the right direction, yet there is still work to be done.

“It is important to remember that our criminal justice system empowers police officers to use excessive force against civilians and under most circumstances, to get away with it. We must continue to fight to hold police officers accountable so they think twice before pulling a weapon on a fellow human being, without just cause. Convicting Kim Potter is an important step, yet it is also important to address the underlying issues of policing that empowered Potter to use violence against an unarmed young Black man,” says Sonja Western, Racial Justice Network member. 

As we celebrate this historic moment, much work remains in transforming the system of policing. In the interest of accountability and systemic change, the Racial Justice Network demands the following: 

  • That Governor Walz and the state Legislature establish an Office of the Special Prosecutor to investigate and prosecute police killings;
  • The reopening of the cases of all killings by police officers in Minnesota. All stolen lives deserve justice;
  • The resignation of Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson following his recent DWI and ensuing charges and conviction;
  • The conviction of former Minneapolis police officers Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao for aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter against George Floyd; and 
  • A statewide ban on high speed chases following the recent deaths of multiple teenagers in recent months.

We are thankful for the conviction of Kim Potter, as it is a significant and crucial victory for our community and may ultimately save lives. We move forward with hope and renewed momentum as we continue to fight for a just and humane system of policing. 

The Racial Justice Network (RJN) is a multi-racial, grassroots organization, committed to fighting for racial justice and building bridges across racial, social, and economic lines.